- After almost a year of legal disputes, Uber has been granted with a green light to proceed with its operations in London.
- In November last year, Transport for London (TfL) revoked the licence for Uber, as it had serious concerns regarding public safety.
- The key allegation against Uber was several people pretended to be licenced drivers for Uber services, whereas they were actually frauds and had manipulated the app for personal gain.
Uber has secured a new licence to operate in London, after a court ruled in favour of the ride hailing service in an appeal against Transport for London (TfL). With a number of conditions, the licence has been granted for a period of 18 months.
Uber ride services have been found as appropriate and suitable for operating, even though TfL did not previously extend the Uber licence in regard to safety matters.
Since November last year, TfL and Uber have been in court, disputing about safety concerns that Uber was allegedly guilty of. Even though Uber experienced several infamous affairs, the Deputy Chief Magistrate Tan Ikram confirmed that Uber is no longer jeopardising public safety.
Uber seems to have improved the review processes of addressing document and insurance fraud. The company with over 40,000 drivers around London can keep offering its services.
Image Source: © Kalkine Group 2020
The hearing has been going on for four days at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. Uber was allowed to proceed with its operations despite harsh allegations ever since November last year.
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What happened in November?
Transport for London was concerned about Uber policies where unauthorised drivers could upload their photos to the system and become ‘eligible’ for providing driving services.
Frauds appeared to be no different than registered Uber drivers and provided at least 14,000 trips all around the capital.
There was also one particular case when the previously invalidated driver got accused of making a similar fraudulent account even after his licence got revoked.
The TfL’s main concern was the instability of the Uber app, as it appeared to be easily self-controlled and misused for personal gain.
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Another TfL’s allegation warned about several attempts of sexual harassment that numerous drivers had attempted with passengers, as well as affairs related to insurance breaches.
Director of Licensing, Regulation and Charging, Helen Chapman stated that TfL recognised improvements that Uber made for the ride experience and the app in general, but they were not enough to keep the outmost passenger safety.
The private vehicle licenser did not want to let Uber operate due to the danger that unlicensed drivers could cause, hence why it revoked the Uber operating licence.
After the decision was made, Uber had 21 days to make an appeal to the court and then show in what way it had tried to improve the services and bring the public safety as the outmost priority.
Back in November, Uber’s manager for North and East Europe Jamie Heywood expressed his concerns about the TfL decision and called it surprising and incorrect, before Uber appealed to the court. Mr Heywood also stressed and mentioned all improvements that Uber made for the ride business.
The November 2019 revoked licence was not the first decision TfL made against Uber, as their disputes date back to September 2017 when TfL had other concerns regarding the Uber app.
Addressing the most recent situation, Mr Heywood was proud to say that Uber enhanced its performance and will remain to closely work with TfL in the future.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan got involved in the Uber affairs, stating that it was absolutely necessary to do what TfL did in order for Uber to recognise its app needed more configurations.
One of the key features that Uber implemented in the app is the immediate driver recognition and validation during the ride. Every passenger will be granted access to the driver’s ID if needed.
It comes as no surprise that the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association was not pleased with the decision, as Uber is their biggest competitor.
The General Secretary of the Association Steve McNamara expressed his thoughts about the hearing, saying that several previous allegations have proved that Uber is untrustworthy, but apparently too big to ultimately collapse.