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Uber wins court appeal against its ban in London

The rideshare king only has 18 months to regain the court’s trust

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After losing its license to operate in London, rideshare giant Uber has won its appeal. A judge determined that Uber’s service is “fit and proper” and should be allowed to operate in the UK’s largest market, according to a Bloomberg report

It’s not a golden ticket to operate forever and a day, but Uber’s license gives it an 18-month deal. London is important to Uber, and it’s worked hard to prove its value. During the pandemic, the company gave 200,000 free rides to National Health Service (NHS) workers. The company also continued to push forward on its London Clean Air Plan to be all-electric by 2025.

Historical failings

In the judge’s ruling, he confessed that Uber had made what he termed “historical failings,” a near-mirrored finger wag from 2019 when London’s transport authority, Transport for London (TfL), cited a “pattern of failures” as its reason for refusing Uber a new license to operate. 

Chief among those failures was Uber allowing “unauthorized drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts,” effectively allowing prohibited drivers to pose as legitimate. More than 20 drivers apparently used that loophole and shared it with 20 others. Collectively, they scored a total of 14,788 uninsured trips, which are believed to have been made by the wrong driver. 

The judge’s ruling didn’t please everyone. The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association took to Twitter to castigate the decision, calling it “appalling,” “a disaster for London,” and calling out Uber for pulling the wool over the court’s eyes by creating the “false impression that it has changed for the better.”

In a statement, Uber called the decision “a recognition of Uber’s commitment to safety” and emphasized that it plans to “continue to work constructively with TfL.” The company said that “there is nothing more important than the safety of the people who use the Uber app.”

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