LONDON — Uber scored an important victory on Monday when a judge restored the company’s transportation license in London, one of its most important global markets, where regulators had threatened to ban its cars from the road for safety concerns.
A judge, deputy chief magistrate Tan Ikram, said Uber had met a “fit and proper” standard to receive a license. A ban would have been a major blow for the company whose ride-hailing service helped remake urban transportation but now faces growing financial and regulatory challenges around the globe.
The dispute was the second time in two years that Uber had its license pulled in London, where the company has 45,000 drivers on the road. In 2017, transportation authorities also revoked the company’s license over safety concerns, before agreeing to a settlement that allowed Uber to be granted a 15-month reprieve.
The latest case dates back to November 2019, when Transport for London, the city’s transportation regulator, revoked Uber’s taxi license after saying it did not meet a “fit and proper” standard needed to hold a taxi license. Authorities cited Uber’s pattern of misbehavior, including evidence of that unauthorized drivers had carried thousands of riders.
As it has when reprimanded by the government in the past, Uber apologized for the misbehavior and said that it made changes to fix the problems. The company said it has added new safety features, including adding an identification check for drivers.
Until the pandemic, Uber had enjoyed some of its greatest success in London. Its cars are ubiquitous around the city and a major mode of transport for many commuters. But its growth brought blowback, particularly from the city’s traditional black cabs whose business has been hurt the most by Uber. Some drivers for Uber have also criticized the company for poor pay and lack of benefits.