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Uber secures 30-month licence to operate in London

This comes after a regulatory battle between Uber and TfL dating back to 2017

Uber has been granted a 30-month licence to operate private hire vehicles in London.

The ride-hailing company confirmed in a tweet that it had secured a two-and-a-half-year licence from Transport for London (TfL), adding that TfL rightly holds its industry to the highest regulatory and safety standards and it is pleased to have met their high bar.

The company said that as it continues to serve in London, it remains focused on raising industry standards in all areas. This includes offering drivers the benefits and protections they deserve, ensuring all Londoners can get around safely and becoming a fully electric platform by 2025.

"Uber has been granted a London private hire vehicle operator’s licence for a period of two and a half years," a TfL spokesperson told IT Pro.

Uber has had to fight for a licence to operate in London over the past few years. In 2017, TfL said it wouldn’t issue Uber a private hire operator licence, stating that the company wasn’t fit and proper to hold one. 

Then, in June 2018, Uber was granted a 15-month probationary licence following a two-day hearing in London. The judge said the company was considered fit and proper to hold a licence, after hearing of the sweeping operational changes it had made since TfL chose not to renew its licence the prior year. 

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However, in November 2019 it lost its licence to operate once again, with authorities saying it wasn’t a fit and proper operator. Authorities recognised it had made a number of positive changes and improvements but wasn’t enough to satisfy safety officials.

Finally, in September 2020, it won a licence to operate in London after plugging IT gaps. It made changes to its systems and internal processes, including the addition of software tools and more automation. This was enough to satisfy Westminster magistrates court, who ruled in favour of Uber after TfL refused to give the company a licence extension.

Uber securing a 30-month licence comes after the Supreme Court in the UK ruled that Uber drivers must be treated as workers instead of self-employed, which could lead tp minimum wage and holiday pay for thousands of Uber drivers. The Supreme Court said the ride-hailing company has to consider its drivers as workers from the time they log on to the app until they log off.

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