Uber’s battle with London appears to be far from over. Thecompany’s probationary 15-month license was set to expire on Wednesday, and Uber was likely hoping to get the typical five-year extension. Instead, the city gave it two months.
The regulator Transport for London said it’s still looking for “additional information” before deciding on what kind of license to give the company. It didn’t specify what type of information it wants from Uber.
“Uber London Limited has been granted a two-month private hire operator licence to allow for scrutiny of additional information that we are requesting ahead of consideration of any potential further licensing application,” a TfL spokesperson said in a statement.
Once a small San Francisco-based startup, Uber is now a behemoth public company with operations in about 80 countries. But it’s still battling regulators around the world. Its business is blamed for, adding to traffic congestion and by bringing millions of independent workers driving their own cars onto public roads.
Besides London, other major cities have also cracked down on Uber over the last year. New York City, for instance, mandated, along with a minimum wage for drivers. Meanwhile, California just passed a law that could instead of independent contractors.
Uber’s woes in London began in September 2017 when Transport for London. The regulator said that Uber was “not fit and proper” to hold a license because its conduct showed “a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications.”
After a drawn-out public battle with the city, a judge finallyin June 2018. Under the terms of that permit, Uber was expected to add three new independent members to its UK board of directors, turn in “assurance” reports every six months and work with the police on criminal allegations made against drivers.
The two-month license comes with those same conditions. Transport for London said it also added a few new requirements tied to passenger safety. Once Uber’s two-month permit is up, the company will have to reapply for another license.
“TfL’s recognition of our improved culture and governance reflects the progress we have made in London,” said Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe. “We will continue to work closely with TfL and provide any additional requested information.”
Heywood said that over the past two years, Uber has added several new passenger safety features to its app and introduced new worker protections for drivers. It also pledged to make all for its Clean Air Plan.
“We will keep listening, learning and improving to provide the best service while being a trusted partner to London,” Heywood said.
Some London Uber drivers believe the ride-hailing company still needs to do more. The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain said Transport for London and London Mayor Sadiq Khan should use this two-month period to create better worker protections.
“Once again, TfL’s failure to regulate effectively and Uber’s unwillingness to play by the rules has led to the jobs of 40,000 Uber drivers being thrown into uncertainty,” said James Farrar, the chair of the United Private Hire Drivers branch of the IWGB. “Sadiq Khan must use this two-month license review period to insist Uber respect UK employment law as a condition of license.”