The Westminster Magistrates Court on Monday granted human cloud firm Uber Technologies Inc. a license to continue to operate in London after Transport for London had previously refused to renew its license.
The fight over Uber’s license to operate in the city began in 2017, when Transport for London refused to renew Uber’s license on the basis that the company is not a “fit and proper” private car hire operator; it also expressed concerns over Uber’s approach to carrying out background checks on drivers and reporting serious criminal offenses.
At the time, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi apologized for Uber’s mistakes and vowed to make changes.
Uber was granted a 15-month probationary license, which was then extended for two months. Then, in November 2019, Transport for London announced it would not renew Uber’s license to operate in London. The human cloud ride-sharing firm then appealed Transport for London’s November decision.
In its decision Monday, Westminster Magistrates Deputy Chief Magistrate Tan Ikram said “Despite [Uber’s] historical failings, I find them, now, to be a fit and proper person to hold a London PHV (private hire vehicle) operator’s license.”
According to The BBC, the new license will run for 18 months and comes with a number of conditions, allowing TfL to closely monitor Uber’s adherence to the regulations.
“We are committed to help keep London moving during this critical time,” Uber stated in a blog post.
Worker classification. Separately, Uber is embroiled in a court case in the UK over whether its drivers should be classified as workers or self-employed. Currently, Uber drivers are treated as self-employed; however, in a landmark 2016 decision, a London employment tribunal ruled that two Uber drivers should be classified as workers and not self-employed. Uber has continuously appealed the decision and is taking the fight to a final hearing in the Supreme Court.
And in an ongoing battle in California state, an appeals court Tuesday issued an injunction that allows Uber and Lyft to continue operations while they fight a superior court ruling that they must classify their drivers as workers. Lyft earlier yesterday had said it would halt operations in the state.