Uber has been granted a 30 months extension to keep operating in London, bringing to an end a protracted battle between the company and the city’s transportation agency.
The ride-sharing platform took to Twitter to celebrate the permit, which was delayed by concerns about its safety protocols. The official UK Uber handle tweeted, “We’re delighted to announce @TfL has granted Uber a new 30 month licence in London. TFL rightly holds our industry to the highest regulatory and safety standards and we are pleased to have met their high bar.”
A spokeswoman for the TfL said, “Uber has been granted a London private hire vehicle operator’s licence for a period of two-and-a-half years.”
Uber has had issues renewing its operating license in the English city. It lost its permit in 2017 when the TfL accused Uber of exhibiting a lack of corporate responsibility when dealing with public safety and security concerns. For example, the company fell short in reporting criminal offenses, carrying out proper driver background checks, getting medical certificates, etc. Uber was also accused of using software name Greyball to hide its activities from regulators.
However, Uber won a 15-month extension after appealing in court but lost again in 2019, with the TfL assessing the company as not fit to operate in London. Again, the courts gave Uber another 18 months, even though the judge admitted Uber repeatedly breached regulations but was making an effort to correct its wrongs.
Uber has tried to step up its safety game by adding a panic button within the app, a means of reporting bad driver behavior, and the ability for both the driver and rider to record audio during a trip.
Meanwhile, Uber lost a court case on drivers’ employee status and is now compelled to treat the drivers as employees with minimum wage, paid vacation, and other standard benefits. The company wrote, “As we continue to serve London, we remain focused on raising industry standards in all areas. These include offering drivers the benefits and protections they deserve, ensuring all Londoners can get around safely and becoming a fully electric platform by 2025.”