Uber has won a legal battle that will allow the ride-hailing platform to continue its operations in London after a judge overturned a 2019 decision by the city’s transport regulator to revoke Uber’s operating license over safety issues.
- Following the decision, Uber told the Wall Street Journal that it has been granted an 18-month license to operate in London adding: “This decision is a recognition of Uber’s commitment to safety.”
- In 2019, Transport for London (TfL) refused to renew Uber’s operating license, after the regulator found that more than 14,000 trips in the city were taken with drivers who had faked their identity on the platform’s app.
- While announcing the cancellation of Uber’s license TfL stated that it had identified a “pattern of failures” by Uber, including several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk.
- While announcing the decision, Westminster Magistrates’ Court judge Tan Ikram said he had “sufficient confidence” Uber “no longer poses a risk to public safety,” CNBC reported.
- Uber managed to continue operating in the U.K. capital despite the lack of a new license as it had appealed the regulator’s decision in court.
In his ruling, Judge Ikram said that Uber “does not have a perfect record but it has been an improving picture.” He added that despite its “historical failings” Uber was now “fit and proper” to hold a London private hire vehicle operator license.
In a public statement shared on Facebook, the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, which represents some of London’s black-cab drivers, called the ruling a “disaster for London.” The statement said: “Uber has demonstrated time and time again that it simply can’t be trusted to put the safety of Londoners, its drivers and other road users above profit… Sadly, it seems that Uber is too big to regulate effectively, but too big to fail.”
3.5 million. That’s the total number of users Uber has in London, according to CNBC, making it the company’s largest market in Europe. Uber also has over 45,000 drivers in the U.K. capital.
In April, Uber introduced a new system to verify its drivers’ identities using a mix of facial recognition and human reviewers, in an effort to allay some of TfL’s concerns. In 2017, TfL rejected Uber’s application for a long-term operator license pointing to its safety issues, corporate culture and governance. The regulator had specifically singled out Uber’s internal use of an app called Greyball, which allowed the company to evade surveillance by local authorities.