Uber begins the fight to keep its London license on Monday, and it's a battle that could define the company


Dara Khosrowshahi smile 2This is a big test for Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s leadership.Getty

  • Uber will appear in court to appeal the loss of its operator’s licence in London on Monday.
  • The case has big ramifications because London basically represents Uber’s entire business in the UK.
  • London’s transport regulator decided to revoke Uber’s licence because of the company’s record on safety — meaning there’s a chance Uber could be kicked out of London.
  • But Uber’s in with a fighting chance to reverse the decision because it’s proactively made positive changes to its business.

Uber’s fight to stay operational in London will begin in earnest on Monday morning, in a court case that has ramifications for its entire business.

It’s a major test for chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi, and the changes he has implemented to the ride-hailing company to appease public and regulatory criticism around the world.

Representatives for Uber will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London to appeal the loss of its operator’s licence in the capital. London’s transport regulator, TfL, revoked the licence last September.

The hearing is expected to continue for three days, and we won’t necessarily know whether Uber has won its licence back at the end of the process. The appeal could go to a higher court.

Uber is continuing to operate in London in the meantime, but if it loses this process, it would have to quit London.

Uber will argue that it’s “fit and proper” to hold a licence

When it announced its decision in September, TfL issued a 21-page document explaining why it didn’t think Uber was “fit and proper” to hold an operator’s licence. Specifically, it was worried about the company’s record on passenger safety, the way it vetted drivers, and its alleged history of using software to evade US regulators. 

Uber TFLA traditional black taxi driver protesting Uber being in London.(Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

Sources expect Uber to point to the major changes it has made in the UK and Europe since September.

That includes hiring a former Amazon exec as its new northern Europe boss and appointing businesswoman Laurel Powers-Freeling as its new independent non-executive chair. It also brought in former travel head of Acromas Susan Hooper and media entrepreneur Roger Parry as non-executive directors this year.

It’s also committed to reporting any serious incidents that take place on rides directly to the police.

Business Insider understands that the court isn’t going to make a decision on whether TfL made the right call in September. Instead, it will decide on whether Uber is now “fit and proper” to hold a licence.

The company has already suggested that it could be given an 18-month licence, as opposed to its usual five-year licence, so that it can show it’s made positive changes.

Follow Business Insider’s coverage of the case on Monday.

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