What just happened? Back in September last year, ride-hailing giant Uber lost its license to operate in London. Now, Westminster Magistrates’ Court has announced that the company has won an appeal to continue its operations in England’s capital city.
The court said uber was “fit and proper” to receive a license, though it is only probationary and requires renewing every 15 months. The company also needs to meet regulator Transport for London’s (TfL) conditions.
Uber must provide TfL with an independently-verified audit of its own operations every six months. The firm must also report any criminal activity by its drivers and complaints from users, train drivers on ridesharing safety, and provide notice of data breaches and any changes to the way it handles passenger and driver data. It also agreed to pay TfL £425,500 ($562,533) in costs.
Uber’s general manager for the UK, Tom Elvidge, said the company welcomed the decision. “We will continue to work with TfL to address their concerns and earn their trust, while providing the best possible service for our customers,” he said, in a statement.
Uber failed to have its license renewed last year due to several concerns from TfL, including how it obtains Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (BSD) checks for its drivers, the way it reports serious criminal offenses, and its approach to obtaining drivers’ medical certificates. The controversial Greyball program—software used to deceive government officials attempting to hail a ride and catch Uber violating local taxi regulations—was also cited as a reason.
Thankfully for Uber, it was allowed to continue operating in London during the lengthy appeals process.
The news will be especially welcomed by Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who has worked tirelessly to improve the tarnished image of a company that lurched from one PR disaster to another under the final months of Travis Kalanick’s reign.