Uber has been granted a 15-month licence to operate in London, reversing the 2017 decision not to renew the company’s operating license.
Transport for London (TfL) refused the company a five-year operating licence last September, blaming Uber’s lackadaisical approach to reporting serious criminal offences and background checks on drivers. However, Westminster Magistrates’ Court has accepted the firm’s assertions that its corporate culture had changed significantly since its license was revoked.
According to Sky, Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot granted the reduced licence but criticised the firm for attempting to “grow the business, come what may”. Ms Arbuthnot had previously indicated the 18-month provisional licence the company requested was “too long”.
Uber has been able to continue operating in London during the appeal process. The company could theoretically turn to yet higher courts if it is not satisfied with the outcome of this week’s hearing.
Uber is now responsible for paying the £425,000 court costs for the case.
Uber Mea Culpa
The decision comes shortly after Uber’s UK boss admitted the 2017 decision was correct.
Tom Elvidge, general manager for Uber UK, told the Court: “I agree that Uber London Limited (ULL) and Uber generally was undergoing a period of significant change and, in light of what was available to TfL given the mistakes that ULL made, I absolutely accept that decision in September.”
Mr Elvidge said Uber will: “continue to work with TfL to address their concerns and earn their trust, while providing the best possible service for our customers.”
A Transport for London spokesperson said:
“As a result of our action, Uber has made a number of commitments to reform, including implementing a new governance structure and changing how it deals with allegations of criminal activity.
“The short-term licence with conditions allows us to closely monitor Uber’s adherence to the regulations and to swiftly take action if they fail to meet the required standards.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan Tweeted:
“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.”
He added: “No matter how powerful and how big you are, you must play by the rules.”
Uber has been granted a 15 month licence to operate in London by Westminster Magistrates Court with a clear set of conditions. Uber remains strictly on probation, and @TfL will monitor it closely. No matter how big or powerful you are, you must play by the rules. pic.twitter.com/qUogPQ1kyp
— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) June 26, 2018