Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 22 October 2020

Judge to rule whether Uber deserves new London licence

Transport for London refused to grant Uber licence in 2019 because of a ‘pattern of failures’

Uber will learn on Monday whether its London licence will be renewed. AP
Uber will learn on Monday whether its London licence will be renewed. AP

A judge is set to tell Uber on Monday whether it has won back its London operating licence after it was removed over safety concerns.

It is the latest stage of a long-running battle with the regulator in one of the taxi app’s most important markets.

Transport for London refused in 2019 to grant the Silicon Valley company a new licence because of a “pattern of failures”, including thousands of trips in which drivers other than those advertised picked up passengers.

The taxi app appealed against the decision and said it improved insurance document verification systems and introduced real-time identification.

Uber was also denied a licence by the agency in 2017 before a judge restored it on a probationary basis.

Its 45,000 drivers in London can still operate until the appeals process is exhausted, which could be many months, depending on any further legal action after the verdict on Monday.

Senior District Judge Tan Ikram is set to hand down his decision at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

The transport agency did not take a formal position during hearings this month on whether Uber should now obtain a licence.

Instead, the regulator submitted evidence, questioned witnesses and asked the judge to bear in mind several factors, including whether the company could be trusted going forward.

Uber, which apologised for mistakes it made, ran into regulatory barriers and a backlash in other countries, forcing it to withdraw from some markets.

It has several rivals in London, including Ola, Free Now and Bolt.

Drivers of the city’s traditional black hackney cabs have previously blocked streets in protest at what they see as a threat to their livelihoods.

Their trade body, the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, urged the judge to block a new licence, saying in a legal submission that Uber was “not fit and proper”.

Updated: September 28, 2020 12:16 PM

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