Uber has won the right to operate in London for another 15 months. The company’s ability to offer service in the city had been called into question last September when London’s transportation regulator denied Uber’s application for a five-year renewal of its license.
Uber appealed that ruling, and on Tuesday the Westminister Magistrates’ Court ruled in favor of renewing the company’s license for a 15-year probationary period.
The decision was a vindication of the more conciliatory strategy of Uber’s new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi.
“We will appeal the decision on behalf of millions of Londoners,” Khosrowshahi promised last September. “But we do so with the knowledge that we must also change.”
In a two-day court hearing in London, Uber representatives acknowledged that Uber had made serious mistakes in the years that led up to last year’s license revocation and pointed to significant policy changes designed to remedy those problems in the future.
Uber will now report alleged crimes by its drivers directly to the police rather than relying on customers to make these reports. Uber will also more tightly regulate drivers’ hours, requiring them to take a six-hour break after 10 hours on the clock.
Uber has installed new leadership in the UK to ensure that the company complies with regulations there. The company has agreed to share more data with city officials and cover the legal costs of London’s transportation authority.
In its early years, Uber repeatedly clashed with regulators in major cities around the world. Uber calculated that rapid growth was the best defense against regulators who were often resistant to change. Customers would often rally to Uber’s defense, helping to pressure authorities not to shut the service down.
But as Uber grew and its public image became tarnished by a series of scandals, this strategy stopped working so well. So under Khosrowshahi’s leadership, Uber is now behaving more like a traditional big company.