Uber could be banned from operating in London today

Uber will find out this morning whether it can continue operating in London.

A judge is due to decide whether the app has been successful in its bid to regain its licence for the capital.

Deputy chief magistrate Tan Ikram will hand down his decision on Uber’s appeal against Transport for London’s (TfL) refusal to renew its operating licence after it was removed due to safety concerns.

It follows a four-day hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court earlier this month.

TfL rejected Uber’s application for a new London licence in November, 2019, due to ‘several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk’.

It found a change to Uber’s systems had allowed unauthorised people to upload their photographs to legitimate driver accounts, enabling them to pick up passengers.

Uber’s 45,000 drivers in London have been allowed to continue operating in London until the appeal process is completed.

The company was previously granted a short-term licence by a judge in 2018, following TfL’s decision not to renew its licence in September 2017.

It’s thought the appeals process could still go on for many months depending on any further legal action after Monday’s verdict.

TfL did not take a formal position during hearings but instead the regulator submitted evidence, questioned witnesses and asked the judge to bear in mind a number of factors, including whether the firm could be trusted going forward.

Uber, which apologised for mistakes it has made, has run into regulatory barriers and a backlash in several other countries, forcing it to withdraw from some areas.

London is the company’s largest market in Europe, with 3.5 million customers, and losing the licence to operate in the capital would be a big blow.

A number of rivals have launched, including Ola, Freenow and Bolt, and traditional black cab drivers have previously blocked streets in protest at what they see as a threat to their livelihoods.

Their trade body, the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, urged the judge to block a new licence, saying in a legal submission that Uber is ‘not fit and proper.’

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