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Uber granted two-month London licence

The ride-hailing firm’s existing licence was due to expire on Wednesday.

Uber has been granted a two-month licence in London (Matt Alexander/PA)
Uber has been granted a two-month licence in London (Matt Alexander/PA)

By Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent

Uber’s right to operate in London has been extended by just two months, Transport for London (TfL) has announced.

The transport body refused to grant the firm a full five-year licence and ordered it to provide “additional material” when it submits its next application.

Uber must also meet “new conditions to ensure passenger safety” as part of its temporary licence, which is believed to be the shortest ever issued by TfL.

It's time the mayor pulled the plug on Uber's immoral operation Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association

In June 2018, Uber was granted a 15-month licence by a judge after it appealed against a TfL decision made the previous September not to renew its licence over safety and security concerns.

These included: the company’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences, how drivers’ medical certificates were obtained, how criminal record checks were carried out and its use of technology which allegedly helped it evade law enforcement officials.

In a statement, TfL claimed its September 2017 decision led to Uber “improving its culture and governance”.

It did not specify what “additional material” it has asked the firm to provide for its next application, but said it will “help inform any future licensing decision”.

We will continue to work closely with TfL and provide any additional requested information Uber

A spokesman for London mayor Sadiq Khan, who chairs TfL, said private hire operators must fully comply with strict standards which keep Londoners safe.

He continued: “Sadiq has been crystal clear that in London it doesn’t matter how powerful and how big you are, you must play by the rules.”

Uber’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe, Jamie Heywood, said the firm will “continue to work closely with TfL” and provide “any additional requested information”.

He added that a range of new safety features have been introduced to the Uber app in the past two years.

But Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, which represents black cab drivers, said TfL’s latest decision “clearly shows that the firm have failed their probation and are still a huge threat to public safety”.

He continued: “The granting of the shortest operator’s licence ever shows that the mayor doesn’t trust Uber, and neither should Londoners.

“It’s time the mayor pulled the plug on Uber’s immoral operation for good.”

The GMB union said Uber has had “more chances than a game of Monopoly” and claimed TfL had “simply kicked the can down the road”.

It described the two-month extension as “no good for anyone” as it creates uncertainty for the 45,000 Uber drivers in London and allows the firm to continue to operate an “unsafe model on the streets of London”.

Uber’s short-term licence expires on November 24.

PA

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