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UPDATE 3-Uber wins back London licence despite 'historical failings'

Mon, 28th Sep 2020 10:16

* Uber fit and proper, says British judge

* London one of the app's most important markets

* Long-running battle with regulator

* Shares jump 6% in pre-market U.S. trade
(Adds quote, taxi drivers' association)

By Costas Pitas

LONDON, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Uber has won a legal
bid to restore its London operating licence which was taken away
over safety concerns, after a judge ruled on Monday that the
company was a fit and proper operator.

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". Uber argued it has since assuaged
concerns over insurance verification and driver identification.

The U.S. company was also denied a licence by TfL in 2017, a
major blow in one of its most important markets, before a
different judge restored it on a probationary basis.

"I am satisfied that they are doing what a reasonable
business in their sector could be expected to do, perhaps even
more," Judge Tan Ikram said on Monday.

"Despite their historical failings, I find them, now, to be
a fit and proper person to hold a London... operator’s licence."

Uber, which has apologised for mistakes it has made, has run
into regulatory barriers and a backlash in other countries,
forcing it to withdraw from some markets.

Shares in Uber rose 6% in pre-market U.S. trading after the
decision.

In London, it faces a number of rivals, including Ola,
Freenow and Bolt.

The city's traditional black cab drivers have also blocked
streets in protest at what they see as a threat to their
livelihoods.

Their association was critical of Monday's decision.

"A leopard doesn't change its spots and we are clear that
Uber's underlying culture remains as toxic as it has ever been,"
the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association said on Twitter.
(Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Michael Holden, Louise
Heavens and Susan Fenton)

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