UPDATE 2-Uber embarks on legal battle to retain London licence

From Reuters - October 13, 2017

LONDON (Reuters) - Uber [UBER.UL] lodged a court appeal on Friday to overturn a decision by Londons transport regulator that stripped the taxi app of its operating license in its most important European market, the first stop on what is set to be a long legal road.

Transport for London (TfL) shocked the Silicon Valley firm last month by deeming it unfit to run a taxi service and refusing to renew its license, citing its approach to reporting serious criminal offences and background checks on drivers.

The appeal marks the beginning of months of legal wranglingin a battle that had pitched one of the worlds richest cities against a Silicon Valley giant known for forays into new markets across the globe that have stoked competition for established cab companies.

Uber, whose backers include Goldman Sachs and BlackRock, will defend its London business at a hearing most likely due on Dec. 11, a spokesman at Britains Judicial Office told Reuters.

Uber, criticized by London Mayor Sadiq Khan for employing an an army of PR experts and an army of lawyers, said that it hoped to keep talking to TfL to find a way forward.

While we have today filed our appeal so that Londoners can continue using our app, we hope to continue having constructive discussions with Transport for London, an Uber spokesman said.

As our new CEO has said, we are determined to make things right.

Only a month into the job, Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi met TfL Commissioner Mike Brown for talks earlier in October, which both sides said were constructive as the $70-billion firm tries to repair its relationship with the regulator.

Ubers license expired on Sep. 30 but its roughly 40,000 drivers in the British capital will be able to continue operating until the appeals process is exhausted.

Fridays appeal was submitted to Westminster Magistrates Court in London as part of the first stage of a legal process which could take months or years to reach a conclusion.



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