Ride-hailing company Uber has won an appeal over a decision not to renew its licence, allowing it to operate in London.
In November last year, Transport for London elected not to grant Uber a new licence, striking a huge blow to the US firm. The decision not to renew was taken due to “several breaches that place passengers and their safety at risk”, TfL said in a statement.
Uber was nevertheless allowed to continue operating while the appeal process was under way. A four-day hearing was held at Westminster Magistrates' Court earlier this month.
In a written verdict on Monday, Judge Tan Ikram said "despite their historical failings, I find them, now, to be a fit and proper person to hold a London PHV (private hire vehicle) operator's licence". He also claimed Uber's systems and processes, previously called into question after a number of safety and security issues, had now been "adequately addressed".
The licence has now been granted for 18 months, meaning another application will have to be submitted after that time.
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, acknowledged that TfL was "right" not to renew Uber's licence last winter and said he was pleased that improvements have been made. He added that TfL will "continue to closely monitor Uber and will not hesitate to take swift action should they fail to meet the strict standards required to protect passengers".
Other organisations are divided. While the App Drivers & Couriers Union claims the decision had secured 43,000 jobs, the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association called the decision "a disaster".
A statement posted on Twitter said: "Uber has demonstrated time and time again that it simply can't be trusted to put the safety of Londoners, its drivers and other road users above profit."