Uber secures 30-month London taxi license

The extension ends a long-running spat with city regulators.

Peter Summers via Getty Images

Following a years-long dispute with the city’s transit regulator, Uber has earned a 30-month license to continue operating in London, Transport for London (TfL) said on Saturday. “Uber has been granted a London private hire vehicle operator’s license for a period of two and a half years,” a TfL spokesperson told CNBC.

Uber’s dispute with TfL dates back to 2017 when the agency said the company wasn’t “fit and proper” to operate in the city and went on to revoke its taxi license. Among other issues, TfL said Uber had failed to properly conduct driver background checks and report serious criminal offenses. Uber appealed that decision. And while a court went on to grant it 15 months to clean up its act, TfL eventually revoked the company’s license again in 2019, noting at the time it had shown a “pattern of failures” in the past. Subsequently, Uber won another court decision in 2020 that gave it a new 18-month license that came with conditions designed to monitor its adherence to local regulations.

On Twitter, Uber said it was “delighted” by TfL’s decision, noting the agency “rightly holds our industry to the highest regulatory and safety standards,” and that it was “pleased to have met their high bar.” But not everyone is happy about the decision.

“This is yet another tragically missed opportunity for [London Mayor] Sadiq Khan to make worker rights a condition of license for Uber to finally bring an end to the abuse of 100,000 gig workers licensed by Transport for London,” the App Drivers and Couriers Union said following the announcement. The group accused the company of failing to comply with a UK Supreme Court ruling from law year that said the company should treat its drivers as workers.

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