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UPDATE 1-Uber says it is fit and proper in battle to win back London licence

Tue, 15th Sep 2020 13:18

(Adds quote, details)

By Costas Pitas

LONDON, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Taxi app Uber told a
London court on Tuesday it had addressed concerns over safety as
it fights to win back its operating licence in one of its most
important markets, the latest stage of a long-running battle
with the regulator.

Transport for London (TfL) refused to grant the Silicon
Valley-based company a new licence in 2019 due to what it called
a "pattern of failures" on safety and security.

Uber, which was also denied a licence by TfL in 2017 before
a judge restored it on a probationary basis, says it has
assuaged worries by improving insurance document verification
systems and rolling out real-time identification.

“The energy and responsiveness which (Uber)...has
demonstrated in seeking to meet TfL’s concerns reflect a
deep-rooted commitment to safety and provide further and strong
evidence of fitness and propriety,” it said in a document
submitted to court.

TfL said in November 2019 that unauthorised drivers were
able to upload their photos to other Uber accounts, resulting in
at least 14,000 trips where drivers other than those advertised
picked up passengers.

Deputy Senior District Judge Tan Ikram is presiding over the
hearings at Westminster Magistrates' Court from Tuesday until
Thursday.

Uber's 45,000 drivers in London are still able to operate
until the appeals process is exhausted, which could go on for
several more months or years depending on when a decision is
made and any further legal action.

The Silicon Valley company has run into regulatory barriers
and a backlash in other countries, forcing it to withdraw from
some markets.

In London, traditional black cab drivers who see Uber as a
threat to their livelihoods have blocked streets in protest.
Their trade body, the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association, is
also part of the court case.
(Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Estelle Shirbon and
Michael Holden)

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