London’s taxi drivers' association prepare to give evidence in the final day of Uber’s London operator’s licence appeal hearing.
As part of a three-day court appeal which started on Tuesday, Uber are appealing against Transport for London’s (TfL) decision not to renew its operating licence because of safety breaches that put passengers at risk.
On day one of the court case held at Westminster Magistrates' Court, Uber has admitted ‘mistakes were made’ in an identity fraud scandal which allowed over 14,000 fares to be taken by bogus drivers.
But the private hire ride-hailing giants insisted only 24 drivers were responsible and the problem was ‘not endemic or widespread’.
Unauthorised drivers had been using a flaw in Uber’s system that allowed them to upload their photograph onto legitimate driver’s accounts, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard.
More than 44,000 trips were taken using bogus identities created by drivers deactivating their GPS location to seem as if they were in another country.
On Tuesday Tim Ward, for Uber, said ‘as far as Uber knows’ they had identified 24 drivers who shared their identities with 20 drivers between August 2018 and January 2019.
”It is a massive regret that this happened and a number of trips were taken,“ he said.
“This has been resolved and there are a huge number of reasons Uber has tackled this to stop it from happening today.
“This is not an endemic or widespread problem, it is a specific fraud undertaken by a small group, a very small group among 45,000 drivers who use the app.
“It’s now common ground that we meet the required standards and can provide assurance that this will not happen again.
“There is no question that mistakes were made, it was too slow to escalate to TfL.
“When one steps back, the overall picture is of sustained efforts not to repeat itself."
The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA), who represent licensed black cabs in the capital, are due to give evidence this morning.
In February the LTDA were allowed to take part in the appeal as an interested party. The LTDA will set out to convince the court that Uber tried to cover up a major safety flaw which allowed drivers to use fake identities.
In a pre-trial review at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 28 August, Gerald Gouriet, for the LTDA, said: "Uber attempted to conceal the photo fraud issue. When that became unrealistic, they covered it up.”