To many Londoners, Uber was viewed as a cost-effective and efficient way of getting around the City. However, when Uber applied to renew its licence last year, Transport for London (TFL) refused.
One of TFL’s biggest concerns was the lack of corporate responsibility shown by Uber. In the subsequent court hearing brought by the company, TFL stated that Uber had not reported numerous serious criminal offences, nor had they obtained medical certificates or carried out adequate driver background checks, putting public safety at risk.
The reasons given by TFL in this case were detrimental to Uber’s reputation. TFL argued that the business would be offering a public service and therefore had a responsibility to ensure public safety by putting adequate measures in place.
Although the company has continued to operate in many locations outside of London over the past year, this has had a major impact on the company, their reputation and their 40,000 employees who could no longer work for them in the city.
Uber has had to reconsider their practices and has now been offered a short-term licence in London for an initial period of 15 months. The Mayor of London, who backed TFL’s original decision to refuse the renewal of their 5-year licence, stated that “their 15-month licence has a clear set of conditions that TFL will thoroughly monitor and enforce”.
Some of the conditions include: drivers can now only use the app in the region in which they hold a private hire licence, drivers’ working hours are to be more tightly regulated, drivers will also be required to take a minimum number of hours’ break in between driving, and the drivers in London will need to take an English language test.
As a company providing services or goods to consumers or members of the public you will need to ensure that you understand your own corporate responsibility, as failure to do so could be entirely detrimental to you, your company and your employees.
For further information and advice on corporate responsibility, please contact our Corporate Law Department for more information – call us or email by using the form to the right. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of July 2018.