Uber has been granted the right to hold an operating license in London following a judge’s ruling that the ride-hailing app was ‘fit and proper’ to work in the capital.
In September 2019, the companies application for a new license was rejected by Transport for London (TfL), with the government body citing ‘several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk’. One of the main concerns raised by TfL was a flaw in Uber’s system that allowed unauthorised people to upload their photographs to legitimate drivers’ accounts, which then allowed them to pick up passengers. This fraud involved 24 drivers exploiting a flaw with the app’s GPS to share their accounts with 20 others, leading to 14,788 unauthorised rides.
It seems however, that efforts have been made by Uber since to improve standards and address these failings. In a written verdict, Judge Tan Ikram said: ‘Despite their historical failings, I find them, now, to be a fit and proper person to hold a London PHV [private hire vehicle] operator’s licence’
Though the news will come a relief to the 45,000 drivers who use the taxi app in London, not everyone greeted it with such delight. Following the ruling, a
statement by the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (who had backed TfL’s decision to not renew Ubers license) read: ‘Today’s decision is a disaster for London. Uber has demonstrated time and time again that it simply can’t be trusted to put the safety of Londoners, its drivers and other road users above profit. Sadly, it seems that Uber is too big to regulate effectively, but too big to fail.
Uber however, will lose no sleep over such comments, they have won. Though the length of their license and what conditions could be imposed remain to be seen.