Uber has begun its fight to keep its license to operate in London. The ride hailing company will be making its case at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in a hearing that is expected to last about three days.
The court will be deciding whether Uber is “fit and proper” to hold an operator licence in the capital, in a case that could have huge ramifications for the company.
Transport for London refused to renew Uber’s licence in September 2017, on grounds of public safety and security. The reasons were laid out in in a 21-page document.
Representatives for Uber will appear at the hearing, which will determine whether chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi has made enough changes to the company. The company does claim to have improved procedures for reporting criminal actions that take place on rides, but only time will tell if this is enough to appease the public and regulators.
It also hired a former Amazon executive as its new northern Europe boss and appointed Laurel Powers-Freeling as its new independent non-executive chair.
A supposed memo sent by Uber to Transport for London said that as many as 1,148 London-licensed Uber drivers had been accused of “category A” offences such as sexual incidents, stalking and dangerous driving.
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In the meantime Uber will still be operational in London, but it will have to leave the capital if the appeal is lost.
Last December the company lost its right to operate in York after members of the city Council’s Gambling, Licensing and Regulatory Committee decided the firm was not fit and proper.
Also in December, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that Uber is a transport firm and not a digital company. This could have an impact on how the company is judged during its appeal.