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Westminster Magistrates’ Court has begun considering whether ride-hailing firm Uber will be allowed to renew its licence to operate in London later today.
According to the BBC, the hearing is expected to last several days while Uber gives evidence to prove it has made significant enough changes to get its licence back.
Transport for London (TfL) refused to renew Uber’s licence last September, claiming the service was not “fit and proper”. It expressed concerns over public safety and security, referencing the firm’s historic approach to reporting criminal offences committed by drivers.
Uber faced a challenging few months following TfL’s decision, with its licence temporarily suspended in Sheffield and later losing its licence in York and Vienna.
The firm met with TfL to discuss the steps it needed to take to get its licence back. It has since released a raft of new safety features within its app and has signed a policy with the Metropolitan Police to pass on any information it receives about serious incidents directly to the authorities rather than to TfL.
The transport giant has also made changes to its relationship with drivers in Europe after losing a series of court battles in relation to contractors’ rights. Drivers are now offered insurance to cover days off due to sickness, work-related injuries and maternity/paternity leave. Driver hours are also now more tightly regulated, requiring them to take an uninterrupted six-hour break after driving for ten hours with a passenger.
Uber officially lodged its appeal against TfL's decision in October. It told magistrates yesterday that TfL had been right to deny its licence with the information it had at the time but that 'wholesale' changes had been made since then.
The court will now have to determine if Uber is fit to hold an operator licence. The firm will continue to be able to operate until a decision is reached.