Uber granted 15-month licence to operate in London

27 June 2018

27 June 2018

Ride-hailing service Uber has been granted a short-term licence to operate in London after a court hearing over a new licence to operate.

In September, Transport for London (TfL) refused to grant Uber a new licence to operate in the city, stating that it was not a ′fit and proper’ operator. The company has now been granted a 15-month licence, effectively putting it on probation for that time.

Uber had originally been seeking a five-year term in September when it applied.

The news comes at the end of a two-day hearing in Westminster Magistrates Court. Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said that Uber was now considered ′fit and proper,’ however, she ordered the US company to pay TfL’s legal costs of £425,000 (€482,000).

London mayor Sadiq Khan commented: ′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.’

Tom Elvidge, Uber’s UK general manager, said he was pleased with today’s decision: ′We will continue to work with TfL to address their concerns and earn their trust while providing the best possible service for our customers.’

One of the areas of concern that TfL highlighted last year was about how Uber reported the crime. The company said that it had made ′wholesale’ changes to the business since last September.

This includes reporting crimes directly to the police instead of logging criminal complaints with TfL, which caused delays.

During this week’s hearing, Helen Chapman, the licensing, regulation and charging director at TfL, said that Uber’s behaviour over reporting allegations to police was ′very disturbing’.

Caroline Pidgeon, Chair of London’s Transport Committee, said: ′Uber has now been granted the temporary right to operate in London has promised to up its game in terms of safety and working conditions. Court action has forced Uber to improve its working practices, and Transport for London needs to make sure that the conditions of the licence renewal are strongly enforced.

′The London Assembly welcomed Transport for London’s decision in 2017 not to renew Uber’s licence as we were very concerned about its working practices and safety record. The safety of Londoners must come first, and we will be keeping a close eye on the way Uber operates.

′All operators need to play by the same rules, so there is a level playing field.’