Tuesday 15 September 2020 2:58 pm

Uber touts safety updates in second day of London court battle

Uber has told a London court that it has addressed Transport for London’s concerns over the safety of its passengers through a number of changes to its platform and policies.

TfL refused to grant Uber an extension on its licence to operate in London at the end of last year, following what it called a “pattern of failures” by the ride-hailing giant to protect users.

The regulator alleged at the time more than 14,000 trips were taken between 2018 and 2019 by unauthorised drivers, using loopholes in Uber’s systems to share apps and cars by changing their identification photos.

Read more: Uber’s second London legal challenge gets underway

During the second day of arguments, which is expected to run until Thursday, Uber said it had improved systems to verify drivers’ insurance documents and launched real-time identification in the app.

“The energy and responsiveness which [Uber]… has demonstrated in seeking to meet TfL’s concerns reflect a deep-rooted commitment to safety and provide further and strong evidence of fitness and propriety,” it said in a document submitted to Westminster Magistrates Court.

The firm added that it believes London is a “safer place” while Uber is in operation, and that the issues surrounding unauthorised drivers were the work of a singular group of people rather than “endemic or widespread fraud”.

Read more: Uber’s food delivery business doubles but demand for rides falters

Uber is currently still permitted to operate in London while its appeal of TfL’s decision to suspend its licence last year is ongoing. If it is unsuccessful in convincing judges in this week’s hearing, it has 21 days to appeal again to a higher court.

Deputy senior district judge Tan Ikram is presiding over the arguments.

Uber first lost its licence in London in 2017, and had since been operating on a 15-month probationary licence. It then received a two-month licence in September last year, before failing to gain an extension from TfL in November.

The hearing continues.