It's been all over the news: Transport for London are denying Uber's application to renew it's licence in London. Inevitably, it's caused a bit of an uproar with many people supporting both sides of the argument.

As always, I've found myself firmly stuck on the fence. I fully understand the reasons why Uber is being denied its licence and to be quite frank, the scandals shock me. The fact that 32 drivers were investigated for sexual assault in a mere 12 months is horrifying — that's one every eleven days! The frequently mentioned 'Greyball' both confuses and disturbs me.

I've read my fair share of articles chipping in on the matter but one in particular riled me up a little: it suggested that the only kind of customers upset about the Uber ban are those who are too selfish to consider others and just like getting cheaper transport.

I'm sorry, Mr Author, but that's just not true.

Because my own personal experience with Uber has never been anything but stellar — and that's most certainly not only because it's a service that I, as a student, can actually (sort of) afford.

So what happened?

On 3rd June, when pedestrians were run over by a van and a knife attack ensued at London Bridge, I was at my uni ball at St Thomas' Hospital. For those of you who don't know much about the layout of London, St Thomas' is a mere 2 miles away and is actually the closest hospital to London Bridge that deals with trauma.

My friends and I were in the foyer, waiting to leave when the news broke out, meaning that we were some of the first people there to read the alerts. We saw the beginning of the lockdown at the hospital and the emergency services communicating frantically.

As you can imagine, we were pretty shaken.

KCL is just around the corner

The campus of King's College London (the chapter of Spoon which I write for) where all of my lectures are held, is based at London Bridge. We had friends who were in the uni bar that night, ducked down on the floor, wondering if the attacks could get any closer.

We were supposed to take public transport home, but honestly, we were too scared. We were in evening gowns and high heels and an attack had just broken out. We couldn't afford a taxi.

So we Uber'ed.

Uber to the rescue

I have never felt safer whilst simultaneously being in such a panicked state. We sat in silence with the radio on, each praying that our friends were safe, phones at our thumbs, breathing a sigh of relief each time someone new texted back. Throughout this, our driver worked tirelessly, continuously changing routes in order to deliver us out of the chaos of the city as best as he could.

He was absolutely hellbent on getting us home safely. Right from the start, when he insisted on picking us up as quickly as he could and getting us off the streets to the end, when he dropped us as close to our door as he possibly could and gave us advice to stick together and stay inside, he felt like a literal God send. 

So to the Uber driver who picked four teenage girls up on Westminster bridge that night: from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

In case you haven't realised by now, I felt safe!

Heema Gokani

I have had experiences with other taxi companies which have been far less pleasant and where I have felt almost unsafe, despite being in the midst of a pretty peaceful city. But this Uber driver delivered four teenage girls home safely on a night where taking public transport was something that we couldn't reasonably consider.

I'm not saying that Uber shouldn't lose its licence in London; I'm not saying that it should. All I'm asking is that should 32 abusive drivers bring down 30,000 who have never done anything but their job? Should these strangers put the driver who went above and beyond and who will always have my gratitude into a state of unemployment?