Uber fights for London license renewal in UK court appeal

LONDON -- Facing expulsion from its largest European markets, lawyers for the ride-hailing app Uber are heading to an appeals court hearing on Monday, hoping to overturn a decision by London authorities not to renew the company's license to operate there.

Last fall, Uber's license was not renewed by the municipal regulator Transport for London (TFL) after deeming the service unsafe for the public. The company have been allowed to operate until its fate is decided by the appeal.

Uber’s appeal hearing, which will consider if the company is “fit and proper” to operate in London, starts today and is expected to take several day before a decision is made - though the court battle itself could takes years to finally be resolved.

TFL took issue with the way UBER handled criminal offenses committed by its drivers and the manner in which some of their criminal and medical records were presented in order to bypass official checks.

Since TFL’s decision not renew Uber’s license the company has gone to great lengths to make significant changes, acknowledging its blunders.

An Uber spokeswoman, Alana Saltzman, told ABC News in an email “it was too early” to comment on what they expected from the appeals hearing. But Saltzman listed a number of changes she said the company has instituted that she believes will alleviate London authorities' concerns.

She said those new changes include:

  • A range of free insurance coverage for independent drivers and couriers across Europe, including sickness, injury and maternity & paternity payments.
  • Placing limits on drivers' hours, which Saltzman said was a first in the UK private hire industry
  • New driver advisory groups to formalize how the company listens to and responds to feedback in every city where Uber operate in
  • Changes to cross-border driving so that drivers can only use the app in the region where they are licensed
  • 24/7 telephone support for passengers and drivers
  • Proactive reporting of serious incidents to the Metropolitan Police
  • Changes to the Uber app in London to confirm to riders that their Uber London driver has been licensed by TfL
  • The appointment of three independent non-executive directors to the company's UK boards.
  • Last month Uber’s UK General Manager wrote to TFL outlining the investigations it had conducted and providing details about the number of drivers that had committed offenses and those that have been banned.

    Uber has had problems with its licenses in a number of other British cities, but London is its largest target market in Europe.