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Uber wins back the license to operate in London streets

by Felix Omondi
uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi

Uber lost its license to operate in London last September, in a case where the transportation regulation authority for the city denied the company to renew its five-year license. That came hot on the heels of allegations of misconduct and sexual harassment at the top management level, which led to the former CEO resigning.

The new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi was roped in with the anticipation he will change the company’s public image, which was quickly becoming tainted. It appears that the company’s management under Khosrowshahi has been pressing the right buttons on all the areas the company seemed to be failing.

Uber has now successfully lobbied to get a 15 months license to operate in the streets of London once again. Well, the company was actually embroiled in a court case, appealing the decision for the cancelation of its license, and on Tuesday, the Westminster Magistrates’ Court gave a ruling in their favor.

However, the company has not been reinstated to its former operations capacity in London. Instead, it is on a 15-month probation. Though it was also allowed to continue operating in London, while its appeal case was ongoing.

Nonetheless, the ruling was still a vindication to CEO Khosrowshahi, who has been praised for taking a somewhat conciliatory strategy and lobbying geared towards winning back the fading support Uber once enjoyed.

This is what Khosrowshahi said last September, “We will appeal the decision on behalf of millions of Londoners. But we do so with the knowledge that we must also change.”

During a two-day court hearing, Uber’s representatives acknowledged the company has made some grave mistakes in the year leading to its 2018’s license revocation in London. They also shared with the court the various policy changes they have undertaken to make Uber remedy those mistakes.

Going forward, the company will now report any and all alleged crimes committed by its drivers directly to the police. As opposed to leaving it up to the customers to make the reports. Uber will also tightly regulate drivers’ hours; drivers will now have a mandatory six-hour break after they clock 10 hours.

The company has also installed new leadership for its UK division; the leadership is set to make sure the company adheres to all regulations. The company will also share more data with the city law authorities as well as cover any legal costs incurred by the authorities.

In its early years, Uber’s mantra was fast growth across major cities around the world. Things like security was an after-thought, so naturally, it clashed with many law authorities and regulators around the world. However, the fact that customers more often than not rallied to Uber’ defense, the authorities felt pressured not to shut down the service.

That mantra later came to haunt Uber, and kick it in the ‘foot’; its public image became tarnished with one scandal after the other. The new CEO, Khosrowshahi is now taking a more careful and well-advised strategy for the company.

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