Uber judged 'fit and proper' to operate in London

Alonzo Simpson
September 29, 2020

Uber has won a legal bid to restore its London operating licence - which was taken away over safety concerns - after a judge ruled on Monday that the company was a fit and proper operator.

The US-headquartered app has been operating in London on an interim basis while its appeal was being heard after Transport for London (TfL) had rejected its licence application a year ago over safety concerns.

Transport for London had decided in 2019 to reject Uber's application for a new licence, citing several breaches that placed passengers at risk. More than 14,000 unauthorized people had uploaded fake identities onto approved Uber drivers' accounts and were picking up passengers using vehicles they weren't registered to drive, TfL said.

In a brief statement on Monday, the company said, "today Uber has been granted a licence to continue operating in London".

A phone shows the Uber app in front of a taxi stand at Waterloo station in London on Monday.

But London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who commended regulators for refusing to renew Uber's license previous year, promised to keep the company on a tight leash.

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Uber's regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, Jamie Heywood, said: "It was not what we would do now".

After almost a year of uncertainty, a Westminster magistrate court said Monday that the ride-sharing service Uber can keep operating in London.

Rather than focusing on the result of the court hearing, Khan said that TfL had been right to cancel Uber's license last November and said he was "pleased" that Uber had "admitted their response to very real concerns about passenger safety was inadequate".

However, the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association said it was a "disaster for London".

City law firm Bates Wells has represented the former Uber drivers bringing a case against the firm on a pro bono basis since the first appeals case in 2016. He said that he was "satisfied that they are doing what a reasonable business in their sector could be expected to do, perhaps even more". "Sadly, it seems that Uber is too big to regulate effectively, but too big to fail". Drivers of the city's black cabs have already slammed the ruling. Now the company, which employs 45,000 drivers in London and has served some 3.5 million people, has secured an 18-month licence and has hailed the ruling as recognition of its "commitment to safety".

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