Uber’s fight for survival in London is pushed to 2018 but another key Europe ruling is imminent

  • Uber's appeal against a London transport regulator's decision to not renew the ride hailing app's license could begin on April 30 or as late as June next year
  • Transport for London (TFL) did not grant Uber a new license to operate in the U.K. capital citing "public safety and security implications"
  • Uber can continue to operate in London while the appeals process is going on

Ride-hailing app Uber's appeal against a license ban in London has been pushed back to as late as June 2018.

In a preliminary hearing in a Westminster court Monday, a judge ruled that Uber's appeal should begin on April 30, but could be delayed until June.

Uber is appealing against a decision by regulator Transport for London (TFL) to not grant it a new private hire license to operate in the U.K. capital. It is also appealing against any decision relating to whether the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association and a union representing private hire drivers can join TFL in the case.

TFL refused to renew Uber's license on the grounds of "public safety and security implications."

The London ruling is not the only one the taxi-hailing giant is facing.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is to decide over whether it should be regulated as a transport company, as advocated by one of the court's top officials, which would lead to tougher regulations, or a digital platform as Uber claims to be. The ruling is important as it could further constrain the company's operating freedoms and increase costs, although Uber has previously said that it is unlikely to change the way it operates in any markets. The ruling is expected next Wednesday.

The legal battles come after a series of tumultuous months for the ride-hailing company. In July 2017, chief executive and founder Travis Kalanick resigned following a series of scandals. Before that, the company had fired 20 U.S. staff after complaints of sexual harassment and bullying.

Then, in November, it was revealed that hackers stole data from 57 million Uber users and drivers in 2016 and Uber had concealed this for more than a year.

A phone displays the Uber ride-hailing app on September 22, 2017 in London, England. Uber is appealing Transport for London's decision not to renew its operating license.
Leon Neal | Getty Images
A phone displays the Uber ride-hailing app on September 22, 2017 in London, England. Uber is appealing Transport for London's decision not to renew its operating license.

For its part, Transport for London said on its initial licensing decision in September that Uber was "not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator license" and that its approach and conduct "demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications."

The issues cited included its approach to reporting serious criminal offences, its approach to how medical certificates from drivers are obtained and how it makes driver checks.

Uber has already come under fire in the U.K. over the employment status of its drivers. An employment tribunal ruled in November that Uber drivers are employees and not contractors, and as such are entitled to protections such as the minimum wage and holiday pay. Uber is currently appealing this decision.

Uber has held a license to operate in London since 2012, but the city is not the first in Europe to attempt to ban the ride hailing company. Uber has been banned or faces operating restrictions and litigation in various European countries.

The U.S. firm was also suspended in Sheffield in northern England last week.