British court agrees to let Uber return to London, ending a lengthy banishment
After a nine-month-long banishment, Uber is returning to London.
A British Magistrates’ Court ruled Tuesday that the controversy-plagued company is “fit and proper” to hold a 15-month probationary licence to operate in one of the world’s largest markets.
London’s market represents a massive opportunity for Uber, with 40,000 drivers and 3.5 million riders relying on the service. Tom Elvidge, Uber’s general manager in the UK, said the company plans to work closely with Transport for London, the city’s regulatory body. “We will continue to work with TfL to address their concerns and earn their trust, while providing the best possible service for our customers,” he said in a statement.
A judge kicked the ride-hailing giant out of the country last fall, citing concerns about the safety related to background checks of the company’s drivers and crime reporting.
In a statement posted on Twitter after the court’s ruling, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he “fully supported” the court’s decision to ban Uber last year, but appeared to signal internal changes at Uber made the company worthy of another chance to operate in London.
“As Mayor, I’m working to ensure that London continues to be at the forefront of innovation and a natural home for new and exciting companies,” Khan said in a statement posted on Twitter. “But no matter how powerful and how big you are, you must play by the rules.”