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Uber Wins Legal Battle Again To Continue Operating In London

uber sept28 lt

Uber has won a legal battle to continue to operate in London, one of its largest markets. The ride-hailing company has been granted an 18-month license to operate in London after overturning the ban on an appeal for the second time.

The Westminister Magistrates Court found Uber London Ltd. a "fit and proper" company to run the services in London. It also had "sufficient confidence" that Uber "no longer poses a risk to public safety."

The ruling comes nearly a year after the Transport for London (TfL) had taken a decision in November 2019 not to renew Uber's London Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) operator's license because the taxi app's "pattern of failures" placed passenger safety and security at risk. Uber appealed against the decision.

Uber was initially granted a license to operate in London for five years in May 2005. It was then refused a renewal in September 2017. The Chief Magistrate then allowed Uber's appeal and granted it a provisional 15 month license.

Uber again applied in July 2019 to renew the license, but the TfL granted it only a 2-month license as further information was required on some of the issues. Finally, the TfL refused to renew the license in November 2019 after deeming it not "fit or proper" to operate in London.

However, TfL noted that Uber has made a number of positive changes and improvements to its culture, leadership and systems since inception. Despite Uber addressing some of the safety issues, TfL said it does not have confidence that similar issues will not recur in the future.

TfL, the regulator of taxi and private hire services in London, argued in court during the appeal hearing that "past misconduct by the license holder will in every case be a relevant consideration to take into account when considering whether to cancel a license."

Uber was alleged to be involved in irregularities such as drivers committing sexual assaults against passengers, driver photo fraud, data management issues and serious regulatory breaches such as insurance renewals, fraudulent documents etc. At least 14,000 rides were operated by 'unauthorized, suspended or dismissed drivers' also.

The court ruling came after it found enough evidence that Uber has tightened its review process to tackle these irregularities. However, the license comes with 21 conditions, proposed jointly by TfL and Uber.

London is one of Uber's top five markets in the world, where about 45,000 drivers work for the ride-hailing app. They provide 3 million trips each month in London.

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