Uber appeals to regain London taxi licence

A London taxi regulator refused to grant Uber a new licence because of a ‘pattern of failures’ in safety and security.

Uber's appeal of a London regulator's refusal to grant it a new licence sets up a potentially lengthy legal process during which the ride-hailing company can continue to offer lifts in London [File:Neil Hall/Reuters]
Uber's appeal of a London regulator's refusal to grant it a new licence sets up a potentially lengthy legal process during which the ride-hailing company can continue to offer lifts in London [File:Neil Hall/Reuters]

Uber submitted an appeal on Friday countering a decision by a London transport regulator to strip the ride-hailing app of its right to operate in one its most important urban markets. This sets up a potentially lengthy legal process during which the company can continue to conduct business.

Last month, the United Kingdom‘s Transport for London (TfL) refused to grant the United States-based company a new licence due to what it called a “pattern of failures” in safety and security, the latest development in the company’s long-running battle with the authorities.

Uber, which was also denied a licence by TfL in 2017 before a judge restored it on a probationary basis, said it had changed its business model over the last two years and would go further, as it lodged its appeal at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

“We are committed to Londoners and are working closely with TfL to address their concerns and requests, as we have since 2017,” said the firm’s Northern and Eastern Europe manager, Jamie Heywood.

TfL declined to comment.

The firm’s roughly 45,000 drivers in London will still be able to give lifts to customers until the appeals process is exhausted, which could take months or even years.

The regulator said in November that unauthorised drivers were able to upload their photos to other Uber accounts so that on at least 14,000 trips, a driver other than the advertised one picked up passengers.

Uber, headquartered in Silicon Valley in California, has run into regulatory barriers and a backlash in several markets, forcing it to withdraw completely from places such as Copenhagen and Hungary.

In London, black cab drivers who see Uber as a threat to their livelihoods have blocked streets in protest against the ride-hailing app, arguing that they are unfairly undercut by an inferior service.

Source : Reuters

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