Uber good to go in London after winning appeal

The long-running saga of Uber vs Transport for London has been finally decided in favour of the former, meaning Londoner’s access to cheap taxis is secured.

The Westminster Magistrate’s Court delivered its judgement on Uber’s appeal of TfL’s November 2019 decision not to renew its license to operate in London. TfL’s main stated reason for doing so at the time was a flaw in Uber’s systems that allowed unauthorised drivers to upload their IDs to legitimate Uber driver accounts and thus take jobs.

Judge Tanweer Ikram based his decision on an examination of the remedial measures Uber London had undertaken since the TfL decision. In the matter of insurance fraud, the judgment noted ‘On the evidence, ULL [Uber London Limited] now seem to be at the forefront of tackling an industry wide challenge. ULL has failed to identify fraud but has, thereafter, implemented extensive measures which have reduced incidents.

‘For example, documents are now manually reviewed a minimum of 4 times (5 for insurance documents) and up to 6 times. There has been training and experienced agents deployed in the evaluation of documents. I am satisfied that this is a significant tightening up of the process and addresses the challenges of human error.’

On the matter of photo fraud the previous failings were acknowledged but, once more, the Judge was persuaded that Uber had done enough in the intervening time to correct them. “Despite their historical failings, I find them, now, to be a fit and proper person to hold a London PHV operator’s licence,” concluded Ikram.

So, while it looks like TfL was right to raise these concerns, Uber didn’t seem to have much trouble addressing them. You have to wonder why this process took so long and there is presumably blame to be apportioned on all sides. Ultimately this looks like a positive decision for cash-strapped Londoners, who will be grateful to have the option of paying less for taxis.

The same can’t be said for black cabbies, who are for some reason hostile to Uber.

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