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 CNBC, Uber 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.”
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?