Uber launches appeal to regain London taxi license after suspension

Uber has launched an appeal against Transport for London’s (TfL) decision to refuse to renew its operating licence in the capital over safety concerns.

The ride-hailing app firm’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe, Jamie Heywood, said safety is its ‘top priority’ after filing the appeal at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. ‘We are committed to Londoners and are working closely with TfL to address their concerns and requests, as we have since 2017,’ he added. TfL rejected Uber’s application for a new London licence last month, due to ‘several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk’.

It found that a change to Uber’s systems allowed unauthorised people to upload their photographs to legitimate driver accounts, enabling them to pick up passengers. This resulted in 43 drivers making at least 14,000 uninsured trips.

Some of them didn’t even have a licence and one had received a police caution for distributing indecent images of children, TfL said.

Mr Heywood said: ‘We uncovered this issue, we raised this with TfL and put in place an effective fix. ‘We are further strengthening our robust systems and processes through a new facial matching process which we believe will be the first of its kind in London.’

Uber is allowed to continue operating in London until the appeal process is completed.

Helen Chapman, TfL’s director of licensing, regulation and charging, said: ‘We note that Uber has submitted an appeal and it will now be for a magistrate to determine if they are fit and proper.’

TfL first refused to renew the company’s licence back in September 2017 amid safety concerns.

Uber was given a 15-month licence the following June after an appeal and was handed a further two-month licence when that expired in September. The company says its London operation has 45,000 licensed drivers and 3.5 million customers.