Uber has won back its licence to operate in London after a judge overturned a ban. Transport for London (TfL) refused to renew the licence when it expired last September, saying the US ride-hailing firm was not a “fit and proper” operator.
After a two day court hearing in Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Uber has been granted a licence but it has been put on probation for 15 months. Uber had been seeking a five-year licence when it was refused last year.
Following the hearing Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said Uber was now considered “fit and proper”. She ordered the company to pay TfL’s legal costs of £425,000.
London mayor Sadiq Khan said: “After years of operating poorly in London, Uber has now accepted that TfL’s action in refusing to renew their licence was totally justified. Today our stance has been vindicated by the court.
“Uber has been put on probation – their 15 month licence has a clear set of conditions that TfL will thoroughly monitor and enforce.”
Tom Elvidge, Uber’s UK general manager, said he was pleased with today’s decision: “We will continue to work with TfL to address their concerns and earn their trust, while providing the best possible service for our customers.”
One of the areas of concern that TfL highlighted last year was about how Uber reported crime. The company said that it had made “wholesale” changes to the business since last September. This includes reporting crimes directly to the police instead of logging criminal complaints with TfL, which caused delays.
During this week’s hearing, Helen Chapman, the licensing, regulation and charging director at TfL, said that Uber’s behaviour over reporting allegations to police was “very disturbing”.
Ms. Chapman said: “I think we have had five years of a very difficult relationship where Uber has felt they haven’t required regulation and being operated in the same way as everybody else we regulate.”
Ms Chapman said that the changes implemented by Uber “could, if applied correctly, enhance public safety”.
TfL said the way the firm was run had potential public safety and security implications when it decided not to renew its licence to operate in London last year – a decision backed by Mayor Khan.
In particular, it highlighted Uber’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences, how medical certificates are obtained and background checks on drivers.
Uber rejected TfL’s assertions that it endangered the public and said it would appeal. It has been able to continue to operate in the capital during the appeals process. The company also said it was “determined to make things right”.
- Uber regains licence, but is put on probation in London.