While Taxi Trade Play Waiting Game, Uber Seek Dutch Payments Licence In Diversify Drive.

While the Taxi trades largest representative group advocates a policy of wait and see, Uber has been busy seeking to improve the governance of its UK operations, hiring Laurel Powers-Freeling, an experienced board director, as its UK chair.

It has recently been exposed by journalist Tim Fenton that Uber have been operating illegally in London, with the full support of TfL, who have covered up the fact that unlicensed Holland based UberBV dispatch all Uber journeys in the UK.

TfL repeatedly refuse to answer questions about UberBV. 

Uber - It’s Still Illegal Says Tim Fenton's Zelo Street.

While London’s taxi and private hire trades wait for the appeal from driver and rider matching service Uber to be heard, the PR onslaught has continued. Uber has told anyone who will listen - mostly its cheerleaders at the piss-poor Evening Standard - that it has reformed itself. Gone are the bad old days of modern-day robber baron Travis Kalanick, and in has come a desire to work with laws and regulations, not disregard them.

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Uber is in the middle of a battle to regain its licence to operate in London, with an appeal hearing scheduled in June. But while Uber London Ltd are on the ropes, representation from London Taxi United Trade Group (UTG) appears to have stalled. 

The company was stripped of its operators licence, pending an appeal, after Transport for London declared it "not fit and proper" amid concerns over issues including the way it reported criminal offences involving Uber drivers. But inaction from the UTG is allowing Uber to cover its back.

Uber have also hired an army of advisers, including a regulatory consultancy set up by the former boss of Ofcom, to aid its appeal against the loss of one of its most lucrative licences globally.

Uber alleges it has about 40,000 drivers in London (although a large portion of this number work in towns outside of London -with full knowledge of TfLTPH- after being licensed by TfL), and is used by about 3.5 million customers nationwide, but its rise has sparked the most significant backlash to date, being a major champion of the "gig economy".

The company has also seen its ability to operate in dozens of other major cities around the world hampered by regulatory objections. Uber policy of "it's easier to seek forgiveness than permission" has now worn thin.

Many hurdles have threaten Uber's chances of attaining a premium valuation in the stock market flotation that Mr Khosrowshahi indicated is likely within 18 months.

Earlier this week, Uber Technologies submitted an application for a European payments processing licence, seeking to accelerate its diversification into a broad range of consumer-facing services across Europe.

Uber has applied to the Dutch central bank for an e-money licence that will enable it to streamline its payment processes across businesses such as its core ride-hailing app and its fast-growing UberEats food delivery venture. 

Sources say they are attempting to become classified as a legitimate financial institution, being handled by subsidiary Uber payments BV.

The company, which is also reeling from the death of pedestrian caused by one of its self-driving vehicles in the US state of Arizona, is hunting a non-executive director to serve on the board of the new unit. The family of the pedestrian have been given a financial settlement out of court.

An Uber spokesperson confirmed: "We have submitted an application for an e-money licence in the Netherlands, where 'Uber's international headquarters' is based.

"We are constantly expanding the range of products we offer and improving the experience for those who use our apps. The way we handle payments is an important part of that.

"An e-money licence will enable us to support the continued innovation and growth of our business in Europe by streamlining our payment processes."

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