A UK judge has ruled that Uber is “fit and proper” to operate in London. This victory means the ride-hailing firm will now be granted an 18-month license to operate in the capital after a long-drawn court case.
The 18-month license extension means Uber can continue to operate in its biggest European market; and comes as a huge relief for the company. Uber had its license revoked last November by Transport for London, the government body responsible for regulating business in the capital.
Per Bloomberg, the judge deemed Uber “fit and proper to operate” despite its “historical failings.” Its license was revoked over its inability to adequately verify drivers’ identities and safeguard passengers.
“I am satisfied that they are doing what a reasonable business in their sector could be expected to do, perhaps even more,” the judge ruled per Bloomberg on Monday.
Though Uber would have preferred the 5-year permit it was originally scheduled to get, the company will no doubt be glad with the 18-month extension the ruling judge gave.
Uber was granted permission to continue with its business in London unhindered while the appeal process was on. With this ruling, the ride-hailing firm will now focus more on improving its services in London.
A loss of the appeal process would have dealt a heavy blow on the company’s credibility, and would have affected its finances. London represents its biggest market in Europe, and this positive ruling is set to have a positive impact on its business.
Per The Verge, the company described the ruling as “a recognition of Uber’s commitment to safety” and added that it plans to “continue to work constructively with TfL.” Uber further added that “there is nothing more important than the safety of the people who use the Uber app.”
In 2017, the London transportation agency refused Uber’s application for renewal of license. This came at a time when the company was in the eyes of the storm. Uber’s “Greyball,” a tool that uses data collated from the Uber app and other techniques to identify and circumvent law enforcement trying to crack down on its services, came under investigation by the US Department of Justice in May 2017. The Greyball tool allowed the company to deploy a fake version of the app to evade law enforcement agencies that were trying to suppress its service in cities including Portland, Boston and Las Vegas.
The investigation soon spread to Philadelphia—leading to a request from the Justice Department asking the Philadelphia Parking Authority to provide it with information about the use of the tool to enter and operate in certain markets.