Uber Will Continue To Operate In London Following Ban

Uber has been facing a lot of uphill battles around the world when it comes to local regulations. There’s no denying that they use some questionable tactics, both when entering new markets, and also on an ongoing basis when it comes to their lack of oversight.

One of Uber’s biggest markets is London, and last September it was announced that Uber’s license to operate in London wouldn’t be renewed once it expired on September 30, 2017. Initially Uber had 21 days to appeal the decision, though the appeal process has gone on much longer than that, and Uber has been allowed to operate in the interim, until a final decision is made.

About nine months after the issue first arose, a court has ruled on this matter today. As reported by CNBCUber will continue to be allowed to operate in London, overturning the previous ban.

Uber has been granted a 15 month license, which is shorter than in the past, so they can test out the new arrangement. The license comes with some conditions, including having to provide regulators with results of an independent review into their procedures and safety every six months. They’ll also have to update regulators about any changes to company policy or governance.

Furthermore, the judge ruled that Uber will have to provide training for drivers (which was probably the biggest compromise, given Uber’s insistence on drivers being independent contractors rather than employees), will have 48 hours to deal with safety complaints about drivers, and will have to notify authorities when a driver is being kicked off the platform.

Uber was initially banned for showing a “lack of corporate responsibility” when it comes to safety and security. Uber says that they took that feedback seriously, and that they’ve made changes since then, including requiring drivers to report serious incidents to the police, and also introducing a mandatory six hour break after drivers work for 10 hours.

Uber is used regularly by 3.6 million people in London, and there are about 45,000 drivers on the platform in London, so clearly this is good news for a lot of people.

The general manager for Uber in the UK issued the following statement:

“We are pleased with today’s decision. We will continue to work with TfL to address their concerns and earn their trust, while providing the best possible service for our customers.”

Bottom line

While I take issues with many of Uber’s policies and the way they’ve been run, the ridesharing industry as such is also life-changing for many of us. Not only does it make life easier and save people money, but it also encourages people to be responsible when they drink. So I’m happy to see that Uber will continue to operate in London.

What do you make of the court’s ruling?

Comments

  1. This is good news!

    I think Transport for London were right in refusing the renewal and challenging Uber to make changes. It’s good to see they took this seriously and will be monitored closely for the next 15 months. I’m sure other cities were taking note at what London did, and this should help change Uber’s disregard for local laws. Ultimately this is good for drivers and passengers.

  2. Unrelated but Amex won the rights to issue an Amazon small biz card (over Chase & potentially others)

  3. @ David

    +1

    Uber admitted during the proceedings that it had not been a “fit and proper” company (and paid all of the regulator’s costs, too).

    Those fan-boy commenters on OMAAT who a year ago attacked the London regulator in an evidence-free defence of their favourite car service should now be eating huge helpings of humble pie. Some were even suggesting it was all a union-inspired attack, and that the mayor was in the pocket of mysterious left-wing conspirators…

    TfL (and its predecessors) has been a pretty good regulator for more than a century. This court settlement is a reasonable outcome.

  4. @The nice Paul
    +1 for you also.

    It’s worth looking at Uber’s skeleton legal arguments. The opening paragraph states:

    “This appeal is not an attack on TfL’s Decision. ULL now fully accepts that the Decision was justified. There was insufficient evidence before TfL at that time to satisfy it that ULL had identified and accepted its past mistakes, and done enough to address TfL’s proper consequential doubts as to ULL’s fitness and propriety. ULL (and the wider Uber group) have since acknowledged and apologised for their past mistakes and made far-reaching changes to address them.”

    So Uber admitted their mistakes. Importantly the judge, who described Uber as adopting a gung ho attitude in the past, based her decision upon how Uber are acting now not at the time the original decision was made. This was important to Uber because they have made improvements since the original decision.

    Finally normally the losing party pays all the costs but in this case Uber are paying TfL’s costs. That is a clear message that TfL’s original decision was not wrong.

  5. Slapping a ban on Uber isn’t necessary to turn people away. I was in London 2 weeks ago and tried hailing an Uber. Was the service operating then? Wasn’t it? Who knows since the app kept telling me to move closer to some random pickup point near my location and, once there, said no cars were available. After wandering the neighborhood aimlessly for some time thanks to the app, I ended up taking the tube. If Uber can’t tell customers whether or not its service is running or say whether or not any cars are available before sending you on a wild goose chase, I don’t need a ban to look elsewhere.

  6. Why do you illustrate this feature with a dismal autumnal shot of a famously renowned cruising area?

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