Last Friday Transport for London announced that it would not be renewing Uber's licence to operate within the city, effectively banning it from operating in London after 30th September. While Uber now seems willing to negotiate and make a deal, it seems the company might be able to continue operating for another 12 months while it appeals the initial decision in court.
As the Times reports, Uber has 21 days to put forward an appeal, which would be heard by Westminster magistrate's court. Once it does it can continue operating until the process is over. It spoke with taxi licensing consultant Patrick Nolan who claims that this process could take 12 months (or more) to complete.
The initial decision to not renew Uber's licence is apparently because TfL felt it was "not fit and proper" to hold a private licence, thought it's been speculated that this was an extreme negotiation tactic to try and get the company to improve the way it operates. It seems to have worked to an extent, with one of the car-hire firm's execs admitting it was willing to negotiate, and with the newly appointed CEO Dara Khosrowshahi admitting that Uber will have to make changes in the future.
That hasn't changed the fact that Uber threatened to appeal the decision in court, even going as far as hiring lawyer Thomas de la Mare who has a track record of beating TfL in the courtroom. It also started a petition asking the decision be reversed, which has been signed over 782,000 times.
One of the reasons for TfL's decision was apparently due to Uber's lax approach to background checks, and recently ordered 13,000 minicab drivers (not just those working for Uber) to undergo additional checks after previous checks from a third party company were ruled invalid. Critics have pointed out that this responsibility lies with TfL as the regulator, not with the taxi companies themselves - something Uber is bound to take advantage of in court.
Still if you were worried that you that you wouldn't be able to get a cheap ride in London, you might have at least another year to continue taking advantage of Uber's services. Obviously there's plenty more to come on this story, so we'll keep you as updated as things progress.