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Uber avoids London ban as court says it's fit to hold probationary license

The ride hailing company has proved itself in the eyes of the law, to a point.

Uber logo on a phone

Uber has won its court battle in London.

Jaap Arriens/Getty Images

Uber dodged a ban in London on Tuesday as a court decided the ride hailing service was fit to hold an operating license in the city.

After a long-awaited hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court, Uber was deemed "fit and proper" to have its license renewed.

The company was granted a 15 month short-term license "pursuant to complying with a list of conditions," the London Taxi Drivers Association tweeted.

Tom Elvidge, Uber's general manager in the UK, said the company is pleased with the decision and will cooperate with Transport for London, the city's transport regulator.

"We will continue to work with TfL to address their concerns and earn their trust, while providing the best possible service for our customers," Elvidge said in a statement.

The hearing came after TfL refused to renew Uber's private-hire license in September. The regulator said Uber showed "a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications."

Early Tuesday, TfL Licensing Director Helen Chapman outlined some of the challenges the regulator faced with Uber, Reuters reported.

"We've had five years of a very difficult relationship, where Uber has felt that it hasn't required regulation," she told the court, noting it had been "frankly frustrating" that the media reported problems before TfL knew about them.

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At the time of the license refusal, Uber admitted it had made "serious mistakes" and said TfL's decision was justified. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company would start "building trust through our actions and our behavior."

Some of the changes Uber has made to its business include free insurance coverage for drivers across Europe, comprising sickness, injury, and maternity and paternity payments; the first ever limits on driver hours for the UK's private-hire industry; round-the-clock phone support for passengers and drivers; and a system of proactively reporting serious incidents to the Metropolitan Police.

Outside London, Uber also lost its operating licenses in York and Brighton.

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