Uber Is ‘Fit and Proper’ to Keep London License, Judge Rules

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Uber Technologies Inc. was offered another chance in its biggest European market after a London judge ruled that the ride-hailing app is “fit and proper” to operate in the city.

“Despite their historical failings, I find them, now, to be a fit and proper person” to hold a London license, Deputy Chief Magistrate Tan Ikram said in his ruling on Monday.

The duration of the permit will be decided later in the day, after Uber and Transport for London make their submissions. When the company appealed the loss of its license the first time around, in 2018, it was granted a 15-month license by the court.

In his ruling, Ikram said that Uber “does not have a perfect record but it has been an improving picture.” He said the test as to whether Uber “are a ‘fit and proper person’ does not require perfection. I am satisfied that they are doing what a reasonable business in their sector could be expected to do, perhaps even more.”

Uber shares were up 7.7% at 5:28 a.m. Monday in New York during pre-market trading.

The license review is just one of a number of legal battles the California-based firm is fighting. It is facing other lawsuits, including in its home state, that would give drivers expanded employment rights that could wreck its gig-economy business model. Ahead of the London ruling, Uber said it’s improved its operations in the U.K. capital.

Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, which represents some of the city’s black-cab drivers, called the ruling a “disaster for London.”

Uber “has demonstrated time and time again that it simply can’t be trusted to put the safety of Londoners, its drivers and other road users above profit,” he said in a statement. “Sadly, it seems that Uber is too big to regulate effectively, but too big to fail.”

— With assistance by Amy Thomson

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