After a series of disagreements and negotiations, ride-sharing service Uber has been granted a new licence to operate in the UK capital by Transport for London (TfL).
The new licence will allow Uber to continue operating in London for 30 months, or two and a half years.
“We’re delighted to announce TfL has granted Uber a new 30-month licence in London,” said Uber UK via Twitter.
“TfL rightly holds our industry to the highest regulatory and safety standards, and we are pleased to have met their high bar.”
Uber’s dispute with Transport for London began in 2017 when the department refused to renew the company’s private hire licence due to safety concerns. TFL said Uber showed “a lack of corporate responsibility” in regard to “public safety and security implications.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said at the time that TfL was “absolutely right” not to renew Uber’s licence. However, he later acknowledged the US company had “made improvements”.
Since the initial clash, Uber has tried several times to appeal the decision. A 15-month probationary licence was granted to the company, and then later taken away in 2019.
An 18-month licence was later given to Uber in 2020 when the Magistrates’ Court deemed that Uber had become a “fit and proper” operator “despite historical failings”.
The car service has added several safety features since TFL raised concerns over public wellbeing, including a panic button that allows passengers to report drivers that make them feel unsafe.
London is Uber’s largest market in Europe and will be a welcome result following the ride-hailing app’s landmark defeat at the Supreme Court last year.
That decision forced Uber to classify UK drivers as employees instead of independent contractors, giving them the right to minimum wage, paid holiday, and additional legal protections.
The decision has increased lossmaking Uber’s operating costs, which are facing fresh challenges from the soaring price of fuel and inflation.