Uber won its right to continue operating in London after a judge upheld its appeal against Transport for London (TfL).
The ridesharing giant has been granted a new license to work in the capital, nearly a year after TfL rejected its application on security grounds.
This puts an end to the uncertainty for the 45,000 drivers who use the London taxi app.
The Westminster Magistrates’ Court said Uber was now a “fit and proper” operator “despite historic failures”.
One of the main concerns TfL raised was a loophole in Uber’s system that allowed unauthorized people to upload their photos to legitimate driver accounts, which in turn allowed them to pick up passengers.
The Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that 24 drivers were sharing their accounts with 20 others, leading to 14,788 trips.
Uber’s regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, Jamie Heywood, said: “It wasn’t what we would be doing now. It was insufficient, we could have done better. “
‘Fair and appropriate’
Deputy Chief Magistrate Tan Ikram said he had taken Uber’s “history of regulatory violations” into account, but made efforts to remedy shortcomings and improved standards.
“Despite their historic failures, I find them now a fit and suitable person to hold a London PHV [private hire vehicle] operator license, ”he said.
The judge said Uber “does not have a perfect record but the situation is improving”.
“The test to know if [Uber] are a “fit and fit person” does not demand perfection. I am convinced that they are doing what one would expect from a reasonable company in their industry, maybe even more. ”
The new license will last 18 months, the judge said. It is not yet known whether conditions have been imposed.
Mr. Heywood of Uber said: “This decision is a recognition of Uber’s commitment to safety and we will continue to work constructively with TfL. “
TfL initially refused to renew Uber’s license in September 2017. The company was subsequently granted a 15-month license by a judge in June 2018 after taking the case to court.
Uber got a two-month license extension in September last year, but in November TfL decided not to grant it a new license. At the time, TfL said it had “identified a pattern of corporate failures, including several violations that put passengers and their safety at risk.”
Uber appealed the decision and was allowed to continue operating throughout the process.
Business campaign group London First said Monday’s decision was “good news for millions of Londoners and visitors who rely on Uber to get around the capital.”
However, the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association said it was a “disaster for London”.
“Uber has demonstrated time and time again that it simply cannot be trusted to put the safety of Londoners, its drivers and other road users above profit,” he said. “Unfortunately, it looks like Uber is too big to be regulated effectively but too big to fail. “