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Uber London ban is lifted, with probation

Taxi drivers struggle with competition

Less than a year after a London regulator refused to renew Uber's license to operate in the city, the ride-hailing company has won it back. But it comes with conditions.

The firm told Westminster Magistrates' Court it has made significant changes since a regulator refused to renew the company's operating license last year over public safety concerns. The company insists it has changed, and a clean break with the past means it should be granted a new license.

Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot granted Uber a "probationary" operating license for 15 months, which comes with the condition that the company undergo an audit every six months. It also agreed to meet other conditions imposed by London's transportation authorities, including reporting all serious safety complaints and data breaches.

London's mayor, Sadiq Khan, said the decision vindicated the initial ban of Uber. 

"I believe everyone must play by the same rules, no matter how big or powerful they are," Khan said in a statement. "As a result of us standing up for Londoners, Uber has been forced to overhaul the way it operates not just in London but across the world, including completely changing its global governance structures and implementing new systems for reporting alleged crimes."   

The company had been permitted to operate while it appealed the initial decision.

Gerald Gouriet, representing the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, had warned an "Uber in sheep's clothing" had appeared before the court.

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