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Uber gets partial win in court case; gets London license for 15 months

Update: The company has been granted a temporary extension of its license to operate in London, valid for 15 months. It will have to demonstrate improvements within that time to apply for a normal 5-year renewal.

Uber was banned from operating in London back in September of last year, but immediately launched a legal appeal which allowed it to continue on a temporary basis until a court ruled on the matter …

The regulatory body Transport for London (TfL) found last year that Uber ‘‘posed a threat to safety and security,’ citing four specific issues:

  • Failing to report serious criminal offences to the police.
  • Its approach to how medical certificates are obtained.
  • Inadequate vetting of drivers.
  • Its use of Greyball in London – software that could be used to block regulatory bodies from gaining full access to the app and prevent officials from undertaking regulatory or law enforcement duties.

Uber’s appeal begins today, and is expected to conclude by the end of the week.

BBC News reports that Uber will be arguing that the company has made many changes, and is seeking only an 18-month renewal instead of the usual five years, as a sign that it recognizes that it still has more to do.

A new boss, Dara Khosrowshahi, came to London and actually said sorry, and in February new measures were announced to co-operate with the police over allegations of driver misconduct – Transport for London’s main concern when it refused a new licence.

The fact that Uber is seeking a new licence for just 18 months, rather than the full five years it expected last autumn – and that it appears to have been agreeing with TfL a list of conditions it will have to meet – shows that it accepts it is still on probation.

Uber has 45,000 drivers in London – all licensed minicab drivers – and the app is used by 3.6M Londoners.

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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