Why Uber Got A 15 Month Licence To Run In London

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Why Uber Got A 15 Month Licence To Run In London

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Uber's appeal at Westminster Magistrates Court against TfL's decision against renewing their private operator's licence, went exceptionally well. The transportation network company has been granted a 15 month probationary licence to work in London.

The company successfully convinced the court that it had managed to reform. This new licence is subject to certain conditions agreed with TfL, such as creating an independently verified report every six months on how the company is progressing, reporting any data breaches and informing TfL of any changes to the company's business model.

Indeed, Uber's business model is still one of the most contentious things about the company. For many, Uber claiming that its drivers are all self-employed doesn't hold water, and there is still an underlying fear that the company intends to make its drivers redundant, when quality driverless technology becomes available (though there have been major setbacks of late).

However these are not the reasons TfL decided that Uber was not 'fit and proper' to hold a private operator's licence originally. That decision came from fears about passenger safety, and a dislike of Uber's 'gung-ho' attitude. On the first day of this new hearing Uber apologised for its past actions, by saying that TfL was 'perfectly correct' to revoke its licence.

Uber has gone on a PR offensive since the original decision from TfL, focusing on ways in which it has changed. One of the most notable changes made is that it now claims to proactively report serious incidents to the Metropolitan Police.

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.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said of the decision:

I fully supported Transport for London's decision not to renew Uber's operating licence last September - I believe everyone must play by the same rules, no matter how big or powerful they are.

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.

Last Updated 27 June 2018