Uber In Westminster Magistrate Court For Case Management Hearing.

Uber has sought to “repair and reform” its business as it faces being banned from London, a court has heard.

The firm was told last year that it would not have its licence renewed in the capital by Transport for London because of public safety concerns.

It is due to appeal against the decision at a full hearing in the summer.

During a case management hearing today at Westminster magistrates’ court, Philip Kolvin QC, representing the cab-hailing app, said lessons had been learned from extensive criticism by TfL.

He said operational changes have allowed the list of issues to be discussed in the appeal to reduce from 25 to 11.

Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot, however, asked if the changes were just a "smokescreen."

"They were villains then, I’m exaggerating for effect, but now they’ve transformed themselves," Arbuthnot said. 

She said if there were still examples of Uber operating in an unlawful way, "then I want to know about it."

TfL accepted changes had been made but felt “it is really for the court to decide whether, in light of the changes made, Uber is fit and proper”, according to a statement read by Mr Kolvin. 

He said: "TfL served a 21-page letter ... it was a most thorough document and the issues included not just what Uber did but how it did it, and underpinning those issues was a critique of Uber's approach.

"The reaction of Uber to that letter has been one of repair and reform.

"It has accepted a large number of those criticisms made by TfL. It admits it has failed in many respects. It has apologised.

"It has made changes to the way it operates - it has changed its leadership, its directors."

The operational changes made by Uber reduce the list of issues to be discussed in the appeal from 25 to 11, he said.

He continued: "Making these cultural changes has put a huge burden on Uber, but we also recognise that it has put a huge burden on TfL and I would like to publicly acknowledge that."

Uber has also altered its app, so a user is now told that the booking has been accepted by them before they are linked with a driver.

Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said behaviour of Uber in the past was “pretty abysmal.”

The Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association (LTDA), which has been allowed to participate in the appeal, made an application to extend the list of issues.

The GMB union was also supposed to be involved in the proceedings but has since sadly been withdrawn following reassurances about health and safety from Uber. This will not go down well with the GMB's Licensed Taxi branch members who were expecting full support of the Union.

TfL has a number of concerns about Uber, including its approach to reporting serious criminal offences, how drivers’ medical certificates are obtained, how criminal record checks are carried out, and its use of technology which allegedly helps it to evade law enforcement officials

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