Uber begins appeal against London licence ban

(c) Sky News 2018: <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/uber-begins-appeal-against-london-licence-ban-11416009">Uber begins appeal against London licence ban</a>

Lawyers for Uber have told a court the ride-hailing app has "grown up" since it was stripped of its licence in London.

The company has begun an appeal against a Transport for London (TfL) ruling last September, made on the grounds of public safety and security.

Its concerns included Uber's approach to reporting serious criminal offences, how drivers' medical certificates were obtained, how criminal record checks were carried out and its use of technology which allegedly helped it evade law enforcement officials.

Uber lawyer Tom de la Mare told the hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court the ruling led to "wholesale change" at the company.

Reforms to its business model include the introduction of 24/7 telephone support and the proactive reporting of serious incidents to police.

It has also changed its senior management and apologised for mistakes.

Mr de la Mare cited three TfL inspections, saying they had showed a "perfect record of compliance" and "change of a business that grew very fast to one that has grown up."

The chief magistrate in the case will decide whether Uber is "fit and proper" to hold an operator licence in London now, rather than whether TfL's decision was correct in September.

Uber has been able to operate as normal in the city during the appeal process, and the firm could theoretically turn to higher courts if it is not satisfied with the outcome of this week's hearing.

The taxi app is available in more than 40 towns and cities across the UK and has around 50,000 drivers in Britain, with some 40,000 in London.

The firm has also been stripped of its licences in Brighton and York, but has gained new licences in Sheffield, Cambridge, Nottingham and Leicester.