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Uber shares rally after London licence victory

Oscar Williams-Grut
·Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
·2-min read

Watch: Uber wins London licence appeal

Shares in Uber (UBER) rallied in the pre-market on Monday after the ride hailing company won a key legal battle in London.

Uber won an appeal to regain its licence to operate in London, overturning an earlier decision by Transport for London (TfL). TfL decided not to renew Uber’s licence last November, arguing that it was not “fit and proper.”

A judge ruled in favour of Uber’s appeal in Westminster Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

“Despite their historical failings, I find them, now, to be a fit and proper person to hold a London PHV [Private Hire Vehicle] operator’s licence,” Judge Tanweer Ikram said in a written ruling.

Shares in Uber rose over 6% in the pre-market in New York.

London is one of Uber’s biggest international markets, with over 45,000 drivers in the British capital and more than 3 million users.

TfL first refused Uber a licence in 2017. The regulator cited a litany of concerns around fraud and passenger safety.

Uber has been battling to regain full authorisation since then, although has continued to operate in London under temporary licences.

TfL again refused Uber a full licence last November, citing a software glitch that allowed unlicensed drivers to fraudulently operate on Uber’s platform.

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Judge Ikram said changes made at the company to address concerns had been sufficient, particularly progress made since last November.

File photo dated 31/08/16 of the logo of Uber on a car door. A judge is due to decide on Monday whether Uber is successful in its bid to regain its licence to operate in London.
The logo of Uber on a car door. Photo: Getty

Uber “does not have a perfect record but it has been an improving picture,” Judge Ikram wrote in his ruling.

“I am satisfied that they are doing what a reasonable business in their sector could be expected to do, perhaps even more.”

Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for Northern & Eastern Europe, said: “This decision is a recognition of Uber’s commitment to safety and we will continue to work constructively with TfL. There is nothing more important than the safety of the people who use the Uber app as we work together to keep London moving.”

Uber’s new licence will carry 21 conditions, jointly suggested by Uber and TfL. Judge Ikram asked for input from both parties on these conditions and the length of the licence.

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said TfL was “absolutely right” to reject Uber’s licence application last November due to “very real concerns about passenger safety.”

“I can assure Londoners that TfL will continue to closely monitor Uber and will not hesitate to take swift action should they fail to meet the strict standards required to protect passengers,” the mayor said in a statement posted to Twitter.

Uber stock price rose 6% on Monday on the news that it had won its London licence appeal. Chart: Yahoo Finance
Uber stock price rose 6% on Monday on the news that it had won its London licence appeal. Chart: Yahoo Finance