What's Going On With Uber's Licence?

Harry Rosehill
By Harry Rosehill Last edited 8 months ago

Looks like this article is a bit old. Be aware that information may have changed since it was published.

What's Going On With Uber's Licence?

Join us to chat about all things related to London transport on our new Facebook group, Londonist Roundel Ramblings — everyone welcome.

Last September, in a move that shocked the transport world, TfL decided against renewing Uber's licence to operate in London. TfL felt that Uber wasn't what it deemed 'fit and proper' to hold a private hire operator licence. Naturally Uber appealed this decision — it wasn't about to lose one of its biggest markets without a fight.

Since then... well we haven't heard much.

It's still just a couple of taps on the app to order an Uber in London, as the company is allowed to operate until the appeal takes place. That appeal initially looked like it might take place in April, but that soon turned to June. 25 June to be exact.

The appeal will run for several days, taking place at Westminster Magistrates' Court. Despite being an appeal, the hearing isn't reviewing whether TfL was correct to refuse Uber's licence renewal — instead the slate is clean and the court is deciding whether Uber meets the standard of 'fit and proper' needed to hold a licence.

Uber has gone on a PR offensive in the intervening months, focusing on ways in which it has changed since the initial decision. One of the most notable changes made is that it now claims to proactively report serious incidents to the Metropolitan Police. Failure to do so was one of the major reasons it failed to impress TfL last year, and TfL mentioning passenger safety in its original press release highlighted this.

Other changes include launching a 24/7 telephone support hotline for riders and drivers, enforcing driver hour limits and changing the app to make it clear to passengers that their drivers are licensed by Transport for London.

What if all that isn't enough, and the court still feels that Uber doesn't qualify as fit and proper? Well that probably isn't the end of it all, there are still higher appeal courts which Uber could theoretically turn to.

Last Updated 20 June 2018