TfL stripped Uber of its licence in September 2017, and said the decision was made on the basis of “public security and safety implications” following numerous complaints the company was failing to properly screen the backgrounds of its drivers with multiple complaints of sexual assault made by women customers.
Last August, Metropolitan Police Inspector Neil Billany wrote to TfL about his concern that the company was failing to properly investigate allegations of assaults made against its drivers.
Uber immediately announced plans to appeal, and the firm was permitted to continue operating as usual throughout the process, which could carry on for several more stages after the current hearing. The company has made various changes to its UK operation since losing its London licence last year, including adding three non-executive directors to its board and forming new driver advisory groups.
The firm has also started giving drivers across Europe sickness cover and maternity pay under new insurance policies, in the face of ongoing pressure over its employment policies.
Uber has suggested that an 18 month licence might be more appropriate than a five year one as it continues to implement changes within the organisation. Some politicians have suggested Uber should be on an even shorter leash.
Meanwhile, the court has also asked TfL and Uber to discuss possible licence conditions in the event that the chief magistrate decides to grant Uber a licence after this week’s hearing. Uber is also appealing the decision of the Brighton and Hove council not to renew its taxi operating licence. The council said it had ‘significant concerns about the company’s data breach’ (2.7 m UK customers’ details were obtained by hackers). The council also objected to the fact that Uber was not using Brighton and Hove licensed drivers as it had committed to do so.
- Uber also has a fight on its hands in Brighton and Hove, where it also lost its licence.