Uber Regains License in Europe After Winning an Appeal in London

Uber won the appeal in London, regaining the license in the largest European market.

uber regains license in london
As a result, the regulator accused unlicensed Uber drivers of cheating passengers on at least 14,000 trips. PHOTO via @WSJ

On Monday, Uber won a legal dispute concerning its London license, when a judge voted for the main hailer and overturned the prohibition of the app by the City Transport Regulator.

  • Uber regains license in the European market after winning an appeal in London.
  • Uber Regional General Manager for Northern and Eastern Europe Jamie Heywood celebrated the verdict.
  • The TfL ban did not exactly stop Uber’s lucrative London market.

Last year, Transport for London (TfL), the regulator of traffic in the UK capital, revoked Uber’s license  to operate in the city. But a judge’s ruling has now allowed the company 18 months to carry passengers in London, one of Uber’s largest global markets and the largest ever in Europe.

Security concerns

When the TfL snatched its license from Uber last year, the authority sought a second attempt to prevent the ride-hello service from operating in London.

In 2017, it initially refused to renew Uber’s license , citing a “form of failure” to ensure passenger safety. That security concern was a flaw in Uber’s system, which TfL said would allow unauthorized drivers to upload their photos to other driver accounts.

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As a result, the regulator accused unlicensed Uber drivers of cheating passengers on at least 14,000 trips. But Westminster Magistrates’ Court Judge Tan Ikram said on Monday he was not concerned that such a security breach was taking place.

In his ruling, Ikram wrote that Uber was “confident enough” that it “no longer endangers public security.”

Uber Regional General Manager for Northern and Eastern Europe Jamie Heywood celebrated the verdict. “This decision recognizes Uber’s commitment to security and we will continue to work constructively with the TfL,” he said.

“There is nothing more important than the safety of the people who use the Uber app as we work together to move London.”

Even before the verdict, Uber made efforts to assert public safety concerns.

In April, it introduced a new system to verify the identities of its drivers, through a combination of facial recognition and human critics. The TfL ban did not exactly stop Uber’s lucrative London market. The service was allowed to continue to pick up passengers when appealing the ban.

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Driving Appeal

Despite this good news for Uber, the company continues to face woes in its own California and abroad. In San Francisco, Uber and rival Lyft are jointly appealing for a regulation that will force ride-greet services to classify their drivers as full-time employees.

Currently, the basis of Uber’s business model is to rank drivers as “independent contractors” who deny workers benefits such as health care or paid leave.

Meanwhile, in the UK, Uber is fighting a similar case at the Supreme Court level. In that controversy, they are demanding that drivers be treated as employees, demanding protections such as the minimum wage and vacation pay. A verdict, in that case, is due later this year but could prove a blow to Uber’s entire “kick economy” model.

Also, a legal ruling is unlikely to mitigate anti-Uber antagonisms in London’s major transport market. The city’s traditional black cart industry has clashed with Uber since the start of use. Cape drivers cried badly about unfair competition and unequal rules.

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“Today’s decision is a disaster for London,” said Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association. “Uber has proven time and time again that it cannot trust London to put the safety of its drivers and other road users above profit. Unfortunately, Uber is too big to effectively control, but seems large enough to fail. ”

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