London Court reinstates Uber’s license to operate in the capital

By: Wajeeh Khan
Wajeeh Khan
Wajeeh is an active follower of world affairs, technology, an avid reader, and loves to play table tennis in… read more.
on Sep 28, 2020
  • London Court reinstates Uber’s license to operate in the capital.
  • Uber launched a new system to verify drivers’ identities in April.
  • The ride-hailing company has a user base of 3.5 million in London.

Transport for London revoked Uber’s (NYSE: UBER) license to operate in the capital late last year citing safety breaches. After months of legal battle, Uber finally had its license reinstated in London on Monday as a judge rescinded the regulator’s ban on the American ride-hailing service.

Last year was the second time TfL had banned Uber’s operations in London. The regulator had also raised concerns in 2017 on Uber’s measures to ensure passenger safety.

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Shares of the company opened about 4% up on Monday. The stock continued its rally and jumped another 1% in the next hour. Uber now has a per-share price of £28.07 versus a year to date low of £11.51 per share in March when the worldwide COVID-19 restrictions were at their peak.

Uber launched a new system to verify drivers’ identities

Judge Tan Ikram said in his ruling on Monday in the Westminster Magistrates’ Court that there was sufficient evidence that Uber was no longer a threat to public safety. According to Ikram:

“Despite their historical failings, I find Uber, now, to be a fit and proper person to hold a London PHV (private hire vehicle) operator’s license.”

Uber took the necessary measures to address TfL’s concerns and commit to public safety in recent months. In April, it launched a new system that verifies identities of its drivers via a combination of human reviewers and facial recognition. Since Uber had appealed the regulator’s ban on its operations, it was able to continue its services in London despite losing its license.  

London is Uber’s largest market in Europe

London marks the largest market for Uber in Europe. Since its launch in 2012, Uber has expanded its user base in the capital to roughly 3.5 million users. The company now has close to 45 thousand drivers in London.

Uber has the largest market share in London in the league of ride-hailing services. But competition has been on the rise with the launch of Estonia’s Bolt and India’s Ola. Uber published its financial results for the second quarter in August that revealed its net loss to have contracted to £1.37 billion.

Uber debuted on the New York Stock Exchange in May 2019 at a per-share price of £32.28. But it ended the year at a lower £24 per share. At the time of writing, the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company has a market cap of £49.23 billion.  

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