SECOND chances exist, after all. Last September Uber was sideswiped when Transport for London (TfL), the city’s transport regulator, revoked the ride-hailing giant’s licence to operate in the capital, citing concerns related to public safety and reporting of drivers’ criminal offences. The decision appeared to dent the prospects of the firm, which counts London as its largest European market and one of the most lucrative of its 600 cities. Uber continued to operate in London while appealing the decision, but a lot still hung in the balance.
Welcome news came on June 26th when a judge in London awarded the firm a licence for 15 months. In court Uber had taken a contrite and muted stance, promising to do more to provide support for riders and drivers, including launching a telephone hotline for passengers. The chief magistrate for the case, Emma Arbuthnot, decided that Uber had not acted in a sufficiently “fit and proper” manner previously, but that its new approach and leadership suggests it is ready to do so now.
TfL will still monitor it over the next 15 months, which will serve as a probationary period of sorts before its licence is again reviewed. Some doubt if Uber has really changed its rough-and-tumble ways. Gerald Gouriet, a lawyer representing the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, said that an “Uber in sheep’s clothing” had appeared before…