Uber gets two-month operating license in London. It desired 5 years

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Uber has actually been combating to remain in London over the previous 2 years.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Uber’s fight with London seems far from over. The ride-hailing business’s probationary 15-month license was set to end Wednesday, and Uber was most likely wishing to get the normal five-year extension. Instead, the city provided it 2 months.

The regulator Transport for London stated it’s still searching for “additional information” prior to choosing what sort of license to provide the business. It didn’t define what kind of info it desires from Uber.

“Uber London Limited has been granted a two-month private hire operator licence to allow for scrutiny of additional information that we are requesting ahead of consideration of any potential further licensing application,” a Transport for London representative stated in a declaration.

Once a little San Francisco-based start-up, Uber is now a leviathan public business with operations in about 80 nations. But it’s still fighting regulators all over the world. Its company is blamed for overthrowing taxi business, contributing to traffic jam and changing the manpower by bringing countless independent employees driving their own cars and trucks onto public roadways.

Besides London, other significant cities have actually likewise punished Uber over the in 2015. New York City, for example, mandated blockage guidelines in its hectic downtown, together with a base pay for chauffeurs. Meanwhile, California simply passed a law that might reclassify chauffeurs, making them staff members rather of independent professionals.


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Uber’s woes in London began in September 2017 when Transport for London refused to renew its operating license. The regulator said that Uber was “not fit and proper” to hold a license because its conduct showed a “lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications.”

After a drawn-out public battle with the city, a judge finally granted Uber a 15-month license in June 2018. Under the terms of that permit, Uber was expected to add three new independent members to its UK board of directors, turn in “assurance” reports every six months and work with the police on criminal allegations made against drivers.

The two-month license comes with those same conditions. Transport for London said it also added a few new requirements tied to passenger safety. Once Uber’s two-month permit is up, the company will have to reapply for another license.

Standard permits for ride-hailing services in London have a five-year limit, and then companies have to renew. Other new entrants to the city, including Kapten, Bolt and Ola, initially received just a 15-month license. 

Uber said it’s worked with Transport for London over the past year to uphold its requirements.

“TfL’s recognition of our improved culture and governance reflects the progress we have made in London,” said Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe. “We will continue to work closely with TfL and provide any additional requested information.”

Heywood said that over the past two years, Uber has added several new passenger safety features to its app and introduced new worker protections for drivers. It also pledged that all London rides will be in electric cars by 2025 for its Clean Air Plan.

“We will keep listening, learning and improving to provide the best service while being a trusted partner to London,” Heywood said.

Some London Uber drivers believe the ride-hailing company still needs to do more. The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain said Transport for London and London Mayor Sadiq Khan should use this two-month period to create better worker protections.

“Once again, TfL’s failure to regulate effectively and Uber’s unwillingness to play by the rules has led to the jobs of 40,000 Uber drivers being thrown into uncertainty,” said James Farrar, the chair of the United Private Hire Drivers branch of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain. “Sadiq Khan must use this two-month license review period to insist Uber respect UK employment law as a condition of license.”

Originally published Sept. 24. 
Update, Sept. 25: Adds additional information on Transport for London’s permitting process.   

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