Uber Must Show London Regulator Its Drivers Are Insured, Trained, for License Renewal

By | September 25, 2019

Uber Technologies Inc. has been granted a two-month license to operate in London as the ride-hailing app makes stuttering progress in winning over the city’s regulator.

Transport for London had previously declined to grant Uber a private-hire license, but said in a statement on Tuesday that the company had improved its culture and governance. Uber can apply for a new license before November and could potentially be granted a longer permit.

In the next two months, Uber will have to show TfL that its drivers have appropriate insurance and training, and that it has systems in place to prevent driver fraud, a spokesman said. In 2018, Uber was given a 15-month probationary license to operate in London — far less than the five-year private-hire permit it had sought.

“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, in an emailed statement. “We will continue to work closely with TfL and provide any additional requested information.”

The San Francisco-based company rocked London’s traditional black cab service when it arrived in the country in 2012, causing protests and calls for additional legislation in the following years that were echoed across Europe.

TfL said in 2017 that Uber wasn’t a “fit-and-proper” operator because of safety and governance concerns. The company appealed the decision and was allowed to operate while the regulator considered whether to grant a full license.

Since arriving in the capital, Uber has undergone a massive overhaul. Brash co-founder Travis Kalanick stepped down as chief executive officer and his successor Dara Khosrowshahi struck a more conciliatory tone with London regulators. After the company lost its license in 2017, he wrote an open letter to the TfL apologizing for “the mistakes we’ve made.”

“While Uber has revolutionized the way people move in cities around the world, it’s equally true that we’ve got things wrong along the way,” Khosrowshahi said in the statement.

Photograph: A logo for Uber is seen on a smartphone in front of a taxi rank at Waterloo train station in London on Dec. 22, 2017. Photographer: Chris J Ratcliffe / Bloomberg

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