Uber gets London licence back for 15 months

A customer scans Uber's ride-sharing app near a black cab in London where the company won a 15-month licence reprieve in return for changing some of its practices
AFP

London (AFP) – Uber won a legal bid on Tuesday to restore its operating license in London after a judge overturned an earlier decision and granted the ride-hailing app a 15-month permit.

The capital’s transport authority stripped the American firm of its license last September amid safety concerns, but Uber appealed the decision and was allowed to continue operating while the case was heard.

At a hearing, its lawyers convinced a London magistrates court judge that it had mended its ways.

“It has provided evidence to this court that it is now a fit and proper person,” Judge Emma Arbuthnot wrote in a 13-page ruling granting the new license.

The judge agreed with transport officials’ decision to block the renewal last year, but said she had considered “the new governance arrangements” put in place by Uber.

Arbuthnot said a shorter 15-month license term would allow the authority — Transport for London (TfL) — to measure how well the company had addressed issues.

Tom Elvidge, General Manager of Uber in the UK, said it was “pleased” with the 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,” he said in a statement.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the judge had “vindicated” his officials’ initial decision and Uber was now “on probation”.  

“After years of operating poorly in London, Uber has now accepted that TfL’s action in refusing to renew their licence was totally justified.

“Their 15-month licence has a clear set of conditions that TfL will thoroughly monitor and enforce.”

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