NEWS
25/06/2018 13:51 BST | Updated 25/06/2018 14:59 BST

Uber 'Accepts It Should Have Lost London Licence', But Now Says Things Are Different

Judge to rule whether Uber is 'fit and proper' to operate in the capital.

Uber has accepted that its licence should not have been renewed in London over safety concerns last year. 

But at an appeal hearing in London, where the taxi-hailing app is fighting to overturn the ruling, the company said it has made “wholesale change” which has had a profound effect on the company. 

The appeal comes after Transport for London (TfL) decided not to renew its operator licence in September over concerns for public safety and security.

Tom de la Mare QC, representing Uber, told Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday: “We accept TfL’s decision in September was the right decision on the evidence at the time.

“TfL had considerable concerns about its (Uber’s) fitness that warranted its refusal to renew.”

But he argued that TfL’s last three inspections showed a “perfect record of compliance” and said three non-executive board members are now in place to ensure “total compliance to the letter and spirit” of regulatory obligations.

TfL’s concerns included how Uber obtained drivers’ medical certificates, how criminal record checks were performed and its use of technology to allegedly help it evade US law enforcement officials.

Uber has said it has made significant reforms such as changes to leadership, proactively reporting serious incidents to the Metropolitan Police and changing the app so users are told Uber has accepted their booking and their driver is TfL licensed.

The judge will rule whether Uber is “fit and proper” to hold a licence in the capital now, rather than whether TfL’s decision was correct in September.

Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot indicated an 18-month provisional licence would be “too long” for her to grant.

The judge also said she is interested in whether those responsible for “misleading” the High Court in 2014 are still in power and what happens now if someone makes a complaint of sexual assault in an Uber.

Uber can operate as normal during the appeal process, which could continue in higher courts if either party is not satisfied with the Westminster result.

The hearing, expected to last several days, continues.

With reporting from the Press Association.