Uber granted two-and-a-half-year licence for London after addressing 'historical failings'

Uber had previously been denied a licence over 'historical failings' Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Uber has been granted a two-and-a-half-year licence to operate private hire vehicles in London.

The ride-hailing company had previously been denied a licence by Transport for London in November 2019.

But a judge granted an 18-month licence in September 2020, deciding it was a fit and proper company “despite historical failings”.

On Saturday, a TfL spokeswoman said: “Uber has been granted a London private hire vehicle operator’s licence for a period of two-and-a-half years.”

Uber said it is “pleased” to have met TfL’s high bar in terms of standards.

In tweets posted to its account, the firm said: “We’re delighted to announce @TfL has granted Uber a new 30 month licence in London. TfL rightly holds our industry to the highest regulatory and safety standards and we are pleased to have met their high bar.

“As we continue to serve London, we remain focused on raising industry standards in all areas. These include offering drivers the benefits and protections they deserve, ensuring all Londoners can get around safely and becoming a fully electric platform by 2025.”

Yaseen Aslam, president of App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) said he feared the latest decision “will now inevitably lead to congestion, more pollution and more poverty”.

Mr Aslam, who was involved in a court case in 2021 which resulted in a ruling which defines Uber drivers as workers rather than contractors, accused Uber of having “failed to abide by the Supreme Court ruling from last year and continues to cheat drivers out of pay for waiting time which is about 50% of working time”.

He suggested London Mayor Sadiq Khan “should look to New York for leadership inspiration where Uber must guarantee minimum wage for all working time, including waiting time, as a condition of license there.”

He added: “My fear is that the Mayor’s decision will now inevitably lead to congestion, more pollution and more poverty.”

At the 2020 court hearing, deputy chief magistrate Tan Ikram said he had taken Uber’s “track record of regulation breaches” into account but recognised the company had made efforts to address failings and had improved standards.

He added: “Uber does not have a perfect record but it has been an improving picture.

“The test as to whether Uber are a ‘fit and proper person’ does not require perfection.

“I am satisfied that they are doing what a reasonable business in their sector could be expected to do, perhaps even more.”

Uber drivers have in the past protested over claims of unfair sackings and poor pay.