Uber secures right to continue operating in London
Uber has secured its right to continue operating in London after a judge upheld its appeal against Transport for London (TfL).
The ride-hailing giant will be granted a new licence to work in the capital, nearly a year after TfL rejected its application over safety concerns.
It ends uncertainty for the 45,000 drivers who use the taxi app in London.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court said Uber was now a “fit and proper” operator “despite historical failings”.
One of the main concerns raised by TfL was a flaw in Uber’s system that allowed unauthorised people to upload their photographs to legitimate drivers’ accounts, which then allowed them to pick up passengers.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that 24 drivers shared their accounts with 20 others which led to 14,788 rides.
Uber’s regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, Jamie Heywood, said: “It was not what we would do now. It was inadequate, we could have done better.”
‘Fit and proper’
Deputy chief magistrate Tan Ikram said he took Uber’s “track-record of regulation breaches” into account but said it had made efforts to address failings and had improved standards.
“Despite their historical failings, I find them, now, to be a fit and proper person to hold a London PHV [private hire vehicle] operator’s licence,” he said.
He will now decide on the length of the new licence and what conditions could be imposed.
TfL originally refused to renew Uber’s licence in September 2017. The company then won a 15-month licence by a judge in June 2018 after taking the case to court.
Uber was granted a two-month extension to its licence in September last year, but in November TfL decided not to grant it a new licence. At the time, TfL said it had “identified a pattern of failures by the company including several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk”.
Uber appealed against the decision and was allowed to keep operating throughout the process.
Business campaign group London First said Monday’s decision was “good news for millions of Londoners and visitors who rely on Uber to get around the capital”.
However, the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association said it was a “disaster for London”.
“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,” it said. “Sadly, it seems that Uber is too big to regulate effectively but too big to fail.”