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Court overturns Uber London ban

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Court overturns Uber London ban 27th June 2018

A court has upheld Uber’s appeal against Transport for London’s decision to not renew its operating licence.

In its response to the TfL decision, Uber London Limited (ULL) said it “…now fully accepts that the Decision was justified. There was insufficient evidence before TfL at that time to satisfy it that ULL had identified and accepted its past mistakes, and done enough to address TfL’s proper consequential doubts as to ULL’s fitness and propriety.”

It said that issues initially raised by TfL, that caused it not to renew Uber’s operating licence, has since narrowed due to the operational improvements made by Uber since the TfL decision.

The particular issues in the appeal relate to Uber’s relevant changes and current processes addressing:

(1) Corporate responsibility in relation to issues having potential safety implications, particularly in the context of its previous approach to (a) reporting allegations of potentially criminal behaviour to the Metropolitan Police; (b) facilitating prospective drivers obtaining medical reports from Push Doctor between 22 August 2016 and 23 September 2016; and (c) facilitating prospective drivers obtaining enhanced criminal record checks through Onfido between approximately April 2016 and April 2017;

(2) The provision of information to TfL, particularly in the context of its past approach to providing information to TfL in respect of (a) the process by which bookings were accepted under its operating model; and (b) in respect of the potential misuse of “Greyball” technology in jurisdictions outside the United Kingdom;

(3) Certain further matters identified by TfL since the time of the Decision Letter principally in relation to other companies within the Uber group, namely (a) a breach of data security in late 2016 which affected Uber users in the United Kingdom; and (b) the use of “Ripley” software to remotely lock devices during unexpected visits by government departments in jurisdictions outside the United Kingdom.

Uber said: “However, ULL is under no illusion that it is only with the test of time that these changes will allow it to build a relationship of trust with TfL.”

Senior District Judge and Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said in her judgement delivered on 26 June 2018: “I have considered the evidence and submissions in the case. I have given particular weight to the conditions that have been agreed between the parties. Taking into account the new governance arrangements, I find that whilst ULL was not a fit and proper person at the time of the Decision Letter and in the months that followed, it has provided evidence to this court that it is now a fit and proper person within the meaning of the Act. I grant a licence to ULL.

“The length of the licence has been the subject of discussion. The rapid and very recent changes undergone by ULL lead me to conclude that a shorter period would enable TfL to test out the new arrangements. A 15 month licence will enable Ms Chapman and her team to check the results obtained by the independent assurance procedure set out in condition number 4 whilst ensuring the public are kept safe.

“I grant a licence for a period of 15 months.”

Uber was ordered to pay TfL’s costs of £425k.

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