Uber has won the right to continue operating in London after a successful appeal against Transport for London’s (TfL) decision to strip the ride-hailing firm of its license to do business in the UK capital city in November last year.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Tanweer Ikram acknowledged Uber’s “historical failings” but said the company had worked to make changes and was now “fit and proper” to hold a private hire vehicle operator’s license in London.
Uber originally lost its London license back in 2017 over safety concerns, but was handed a 15-month extension, followed by a further two months. Upon the expiration of the license, TfL said it would not be renewing the license because, though the app had addressed some issues, “TfL does not have confidence that similar issues will not reoccur in the future”. Uber was allowed to continue operating as normal throughout the appeal process.
Uber’s new license will last 18 months, enabling TfL to continue keeping the ride-hailing firm on a short leash. The latest permit also sees Uber now being subject to 21 requirements as opposed to the 14 conditions set out in its previous license.
Unite – a union with 1.4m members, almost 1,000 of which are London taxi cab drivers – called the decision to grant Uber a license “a sad day for the travelling public in London”.
“It is our view that Uber has a ruthless business model that undermines safety and long-established regulations and now they have got the green light to continue operating in London which is very disappointing,” said the Chair of the Unite London taxi section, Jim Kelly, in a statement.
“Our members have high standards of training and knowledge. They are trusted by the travelling public – but all that apparently counts for nothing in the pursuit of corporate profit.
“We will need to study the court ruling in detail before commenting further. We will be discussing this with Transport for London and with London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan to explore what can be done to mitigate this decision.”
The London Taxi Drivers’ Association’s (LTDA) General Secretary, Steve McNamara, labelled the decision as “a disaster for London”.