After a prolonged battle, Uber has won its appeal against Transport for London, which allows the service to continue running in the capital.
The long-running saga of Uber and TfL has reached another development this morning. Some ten months after TfL decisively announced the wouldn’t grant the ride-hailing app a new licence to operate in London, Uber – which took that decision to court in an appeal – has had the ruling overturned. Despite what TfL had dubbed a “pattern of failures by the company including several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk” back in late 2019, Uber’s appeal successfully argued that the company was “fit and proper” to hold a licence after implementing a range of new measures.
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You may have noticed this dispute has been rumbling on for quite some time; TfL initially suspended Uber’s private hire licence in September 2017 over safety concerns, which was then delayed by a series of extensions and appeals, during which Uber was expected to make improvements to the service. A final decision came in November 2019, with TfL voicing concerns over unauthorised and uninsured drivers, passenger safety, and insurance issues being the main drivers of the decision. Despite Uber claiming to have fixed some of these issues, a statement at the time said that TfL “does not have confidence that similar issues will not reoccur in the future”.
Reportedly, some 14,000 Uber trips had been completed by unauthorised drivers from September to November 2019, through a system change which allowed unauthorised drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts. These trips were therefore uninsured, and in one case, they’d been reportedly handled by a driver who’d been previously had their licence revoked by TfL. Uber appealed the decision in court, and was allowed to continue operating in the interim -and whilst the final roll of the dice was delayed due to the pandemic, the company’s case has now been deemed sufficiently convincing to reverse TfL’s original decision.
The court decision ends a saga that’s been rumbling on for three years, and secures the immediate future of London’s 45,000 Uber drivers, even as Uber faces stiff competition from the likes of fellow ride-hailing apps Kapten, Bolt, and ViaVan. A TfL response to the decision is yet to be released.
Also published on Medium.