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Uber wins short-term licence for London

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Uber has been granted a 15-month licence to operate in London in a decision which reverses a block placed on its service last year.

Transport for London (TfL) refused to give the Uber a five-year operating licence last September, blaming failings in its approach to reporting serious criminal offences and to background checks on drivers.
But Westminster Magistrates’ Court has now accepted the firm’s assertions that its corporate culture had improved since its license was revoked.
Uber told the court there had been a “wholesale change” and it had appointed three non-executive board members.
Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot granted the reduced licence but criticised the firm for attempting to “grow the business, come what may”.
Ms Arbuthnot previously indicated the 18-month provisional licence Uber was requesting would be “too long” for her to grant.

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Video: Uber admits mistakes ahead of appeal decision

It comes just days after Uber’s UK boss admitted the decision not to renew its London licence last year was correct.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “After years of operating poorly in London, Uber has now accepted that TfL’s action in refusing to renew their licence was totally justified. Today our stance has been vindicated by the court.
“Uber has been put on probation – their 15 month licence has a clear set of conditions that TfL will thoroughly monitor and enforce.”

He added: “No matter how powerful and how big you are, you must play by the rules.”
The costs for the case – £425,000 – are to be paid by Uber.

Image: London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the app had been ‘put on probation’
Tom Elvidge, general manager of Uber UK, said the firm will “continue to work with TfL to address their concerns and earn their trust, while providing the best possible service for our customers.”
A TfL spokesperson said: “As a result of our action, Uber has made a number of commitments to reform, including implementing a new governance structure and changing how it deals with allegations of criminal activity.
“The short-term licence with conditions allows us to closely monitor Uber’s adherence to the regulations and to swiftly take action if they fail to meet the required standards.”
Uber has been able to operate normally in London during the appeal process, and the firm could theoretically turn to higher courts if it is not satisfied with the outcome of this week’s hearing.

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The taxi app is available in more than 40 towns and cities across the UK and has around 50,000 drivers in Britain, with some 40,000 in London.
The firm has also been stripped of its licences in Brighton and York, but has gained new licences in Sheffield, Cambridge, Nottingham and Leicester.

Source: SKY