Uber had its licence to operate in London suspended last year – and the hail-to-ride app will begin an appeal against the decision on Monday.
Here are the answers to some key questions about the case.
– What is the background?
Uber – an app which enables users to book cars using their smartphones – was not issued with an operating licence after its current deal expired on September 30 last year, with Transport for London (TfL) saying the app was “not fit and proper” to operate in the capital.
TfL said it had concerns which have “public safety and security implications”, including its approach to reporting serious criminal offences and how it carried out background checks on its drivers.
Uber was given a four-month temporary licence last May, and was allowed to continue operating “until any appeal processes have been exhausted”.
– What’s happening?
Uber criticised the decision saying not issuing a licence “would show the world that, far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies” and appealed the decision.
More than 850,000 people signed an online petition appealing for TfL to reconsider the move, and Uber said it accepted it had made mistakes in the past.
The hearing, at Westminster Magistrates Court, is set to last for several days.
– What could happen?
The court will decide whether Uber is fit to hold a licence in the capital or not. For this, the court will refer to a 21-page document put together by TfL and sent to Uber outlining the initial decision to refuse the licence last year.
Either party could theoretically challenge any decision from this court in a higher one.
– What has Uber said?
Philip Kolvin QC, who represented Uber at an earlier hearing, said the company’s reaction to the refusal was one of repair and reform.
He said: “TfL served a 21-page letter … it was a most thorough document and the issues included not just what Uber did but how it did it, and underpinning those issues was a critique of Uber’s approach.
“It has accepted a large number of those criticisms made by TfL, it admits it has failed in many respects. It has apologised.
“It has made changes to the way it operates – it has changed its leadership, its directors.”
– What has TfL said?
TfL said they had a number of concerns about Uber’s operation in London.
These included: the company’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences; how drivers’ medical certificates were obtained; how criminal record checks were carried out and its use of technology which allegedly helped it evade law enforcement officials.
– What’s happening in other cities?
London is not the only UK city where Uber has faced operational issues.
The City of York Council refused to grant a licence for the app last December, citing complaints it had received about the service and a recent well-publicised data protection breach, while its licence was temporarily suspended in Sheffield in the same month.