TfL’s refusal to grant Uber an operating licence last September not only sent shockwaves through the company it ignited a political battle with govement ministers who had heavily campaigned for Uber to be given an easy ride.
But so far, its customers would hardly have noticed, as the company has been allowed to continue operating in the capital, having appealed the decision immediately after.
This morning, that came to a head....as Uber, TfL and London’s media descend on Westminster Magistrates Court for the appeal hearing.
It kicks off what is expected to be a three-day hearing during which Uber will try to argue that it is no longer the bad boy of the tech industry.
Uber will argue they have made a series of changes to its app, changing the way the company operates in London since September, including flying chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi into London for crisis talks with TfL commissioner Mike "on side" Brown. (Funny though, Mike "on side" Brown has refused point blank to meet with Taxi trade and recently ignored a Scheduled quarterly Commissioners meeting wit senior Taxi trade representatives.
The company will hope the changes - such as improving the way it deals with complaints - are enough to not only convince the court that it has turned over a new leaf, but TfL itself. Having the regulator onside will be a big help in this court battle.
One the table today is Uber's record number of rapes, sexual assaults, customer accounts hacked, overcharging, discrimination towards customers, road traffic accidents and incidents, fake medicals, 13,000 fake criminal record DBS checks to name but a few.
Uber have operated illegal from day one! The big problem being that certain senior TfL officials knew this and covered Uber's back.
For Londoners who have come to rely solely on Uber (until the price surges), this week’s appeal could have big implications, but it is just as important for the company itself.
London is one of Uber’s most profitable markets ' the Jewel In The Crown'...and its continued operation in the capital is crucial to the ride-hailing app as it seeks to stem losses and prepare for an initial public offering next year.
It is also a pivotal moment for Mr Khosrowshahi himself, who has sought to reform the company under his watch. A stamp of approval this week would burnish his credentials significantly.
But can TfL be trusted.
Look at the mess their legal teams made of the meter case.
They've had evidence which should have shut the company down from day one and they've done nothing with it.
They knew in January last year about the fake DBS certificate and under Helen Chapman's watch they buried this by October.
Just received the following information by FOI of Badges surrendered:
Last year 1144 GB, 193 YB. This year so far 483 GB (that's approx 80 per month), 60 YB. V concerning! This does not take into account those who have left the trade but still have a bill.
(With thanks to Matt the cab)
Source : Telegraph, Sunday Times, Mirror : Image Orion Gotch.
TAXI LEAKS COURT LIVE UPDATES from Twitter.
Tom Elvidge appeared to be, uncomfortable and nervous a founding to tweets from the LTDA, when asked to confirm that the app used to send bookings straight to Car! “Yes”
TfL QC “ but that means that around 2 million offences were committed every week by drivers using your app?”
TfLs QC “ it wouldn’t be unfair to say that in the past “ Uber have said whatever suited it to say in any given particular circumstance ( referring to HC & employment cases)!
Magistrate to Elvidge re GreyBall, “ Are you saying Uber employed someone who did not understand how the system worked?”
Elvidge said, “I regret our actions re the communications around Greyball”!
TfLs QC to Elvidge “ a cynic might say Bertram was replaced to enable you to re apply for s licence?”
Elvidge “ it’s regrettable that TfL had to find out about Ripley from a news report”
Elvidge now being crossed on data breach:
TfL QC“you said ULL were only given limited information on data breach by Uber in San Fransico .
Elvidge replied “ it ( the data breach) was handled in a totally appropriate way”
TfL QC to Elvidge “ the handling of this ( the data breach) was not a good start to your new reformed system, was it”?
Up till now Elvidge has been given a tough time, but then TFL's QC started to put ideas into the throw.
TfLs QC Isnt it true Uber’s culture was one of ‘tell the regulator as little as possible?’ Elvidge “ it was a corporate culture under previous leadership”
Tfl QC to Elvidge “ is it possible that in just 9 months Dara has changed this culture?
Looks like all those meetings between Mike Brown and Dara K have paid dividends
Fred Jones And Laurel Powers Freeling
Fred Jones now in the box, looks slightly more confident than Elvidge
Fred, Jones is being walked through his evidence by Uber’s QC.
He's mentioned ‘ Metropolitan Police Service 23 Times so far!
Keeps on about the ex ‘ Metroploitan Police Service’ person they've employ now!
It's obvious he's been rehearsing in front of the mirror.
His lawyer, obviously embarrassed, says MPS, but Fred keeps on referring to them as the Metropolitan Police Servce”. !!!
TFL QC “ your previous reporting ( of crimes) policy was not good enough, was it?”
Fred tried to go on about “Metropolitan Police Service” but QC says, never mind MPS and TfL what’s yr opinion?
Fred withdraws a comment that a 2nd sexual assault could not have been prevented had Uber reported the 1st allegation against their driver! Not a great move from Fred!
Fred try's to defend Uber's failure to report serious allegations as a failure of process, not policy-!!!
Next it's Uber non exec director Laurel Powers Freeling, not surprisingly tells the court how Uber want to change!
TfL QC takes Laurel through the long long list of companies she works ( and is paid for!) “what percentage of your time do you spend on Uber?”
She answers “lots” - But when pushed, Laurel conceded it’s only4 days a month with Uber!
TfL QC asks Laurel, “ it’s fair to say you don’t have a lot to do with the day to day running of Uber?”
“Yes as a non exec director I don’t”
TfL QC to Laurel, "What would you say to someone who says, your new protocols have only been in place for 4 months, how can you be sure they work?"
Well that's it for today....more to come in day two, tomorrow...Chapman expected to give two hours of evidence on day 2
Judge says she will be able to give decision tomorrow.
TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :
Last week, LCDC chairman Grant Davis sent these pictures to Tfl showing a PH Uber licensed by TfL with a light on the roof and he ask what the hell is going on here???
They came back to him saying, "the picture sent really doesn’t look like proof".......
The very next night the LCDC sent them another picture that hopefully Tfl can act on!!
But don't hold your breath!!!