In September of this year, Uber lost its license to operate in London. London’s transport regulating body, Transport for London (TfL), declared that the company was not “fit and proper” to operate in the capital and accused it of a series of failures over passenger safety. TfL’s reasons for not renewing Uber’s license include its approaches to reporting serious criminal offenses, obtaining medical certificates, and its use of the Greyball software, which helps the company evade regulatory authorities.
London is one of Uber’s largest and most profitable markets, and the loss of its license was seen as a major blow for the company as it struggles to repair its reputation. Uber launched in London in 2012 and has 3.5 million users and about 40,000 drivers associated with it. When the news of the ban surfaced, more than 850,000 people signed a petition, urging London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, to overturn the ban.
The company is hoping to win back TfL’s approval through a series of talks, for which Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi flew to London to meet with the regulators. A legal appeal against the ban allows it to keep operating in London without a license for the time being.
This appeal will, however, not be heard until the end of April at the earliest, allowing the company to operate on the capital’s streets for at least several more months.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard on Monday that a five-day appeal is likely to be held on April 30, although it could be pushed back until June 25. The longer the appeal is postponed, the more time the ride-hailing company gets to operate provisionally in London and prepare its arguments.