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Uber hails decision to allow it to carry on operating in London

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Uber has been spared a ban in London, where it has some 45,000 drivers
Uber has been spared a ban in London, where it has some 45,000 drivers   -   Copyright  AP Photo
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Uber has won its appeal against a decision not to renew its licence in London, allowing the taxi company to continue operating in the city for another 18 months.

The association representing London’s traditional black cabs called the decision a “disaster for London”.

Transport for London decided in 2019 not to renew Uber’s operating licence over safety concerns.

These included unauthorized drivers being able to upload their photos to other driver accounts.

This happened on at least 14,000 trips across the UK's capital, TfL said.

The app has had its licence revoked twice in the UK capital since 2017, but was allowed on both occasions to continue operating while the decision was under appeal.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Tan Ikram said at a hearing on Monday he found Uber to be “fit and proper" and granted the company an 18-month licence extension, which comes with 21 conditions including providing regular, independent reports to authorities.

The company said the decision is a “recognition of Uber’s commitment to safety” and it will “continue to work constructively” with the regulator.

Ikram said he took into account Uber's efforts to improve oversight and tighten up identity checks, and that he didn't find any evidence of a “cover up” of the driver photo fraud problem.

"Uber doesn't have a perfect record but it has an improving picture," Ikram said. “I am satisfied that they are doing what a reasonable business in their sector could be expected to do, perhaps even more.”

The ruling will allow some 45,000 Uber drivers in London to continue working with the company, which has faced sharp criticism from traditional taxi drivers.

The Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association (LTDA) called the decision “a disaster for London”, accusing the judge of “playing Russian roulette with the safety of Londonders”.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that while Uber has made improvements to get its license back, the company will still be closely scrutinized.

“I can assure Londoners that TfL will continue to closely monitor Uber and will not hesitate to take swift action should they fail to meet the strict standards required to protect passengers," Khan said.