Westminster Magistrates’ Court will hear Uber's appeal to the Transport for London's decision to revoke its operating license in London in mid-2018, Reuters reported earlier this week, citing Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot. The five-day hearing is presently planned to start on April 30th but may be delayed over scheduling conflicts. While the main hearing is still nearly half a year away, the legal process surrounding it has already started, with the competent court being set to decide whether the London Taxi Drivers’ Association and the local unit of trade union GMB are allowed to participate in the case.
New Uber Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi already started damage control earlier this fall when he met with TfL Commissioner Mike Brown to discuss the issue at hand, prompting London Mayor Sadiq Khan to welcome his appointment and "humility" demonstrated in early October. The situation still remains far from resolved, with the discussion not leading to any palpable results despite the fact both Uber and the TfL explicitly stated they'd prefer to have the matter settled outside of a courtroom. Uber's loss of a private hire operator license in London led to the resignation of the company's Northern Europe head Jo Bertram who still hasn't been replaced, with her successor being expected to be named in early 2018. Until the company's appeal is heard, it's allowed to continue operating in London as usual even though its original license expired on September 30th. Should Uber successfully appeal the case or resolve the matter directly with the TfL, its license fee would increase by 96,500 percent, rising from 3,000 pounds ($4,002) it paid in 2012 to over $3.9 million, though the firm previously said it supports a higher licensing fee and believes it should pay more.
The ride-hailing startup is about to wrap up a rather turbulent year that's been littered with scandals ranging from clashes with various governments around the world to allegations of nurturing a predatory corporate culture. The controversy ultimately ended with former CEO Travis Kalanick resigning at a direct request from investors in late June and could eventually hurt Uber's valuation that already appears shaky following SoftBank's approach to invest approximately $10 billion in the company, albeit at a 30 percent discount compared to its 2015 valuation of $68.5 billion which saw it seize the title of the world's most valuable startup.