Uber has been granted a new licence to continue operating in London — but it has been limited to two months because of passenger safety concerns.
The app-based ride-hailing firm has been at loggerheads with Transport for London (TfL) since 2017, when the first decision not to renew its licence in the capital was made.
Uber had to go to court to secure a 15-month licence on appeal last year, which was to expire on Wednesday.
Sky News revealed last month that the company was facing an uphill struggle to secure a long-term licence beyond this week, and it has now been confirmed that it will be limited to two months.
In a statement, TfL said Uber still had not done enough to "ensure passenger safety".
Sky sources had indicated that the company, which has a market value of $68.5bn (£56.3bn), had little chance of being granted the full five-year term when its probationary period expired this week.
The US-based firm has been asked to use the two months to provide the necessary extra information to consider "any potential further licensing application".
Uber’s app is used by millions of people in the capital and it employees roughly 40,000 drivers there.
London is among its most lucrative markets in the world and its most profitable outside the US.
Concerns over its operation in London have included its approach to reporting criminal offences, criminal record checks, how drivers’ medical certificates are obtained, and its alleged use of tech to evade law enforcement officials.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said he has been "crystal clear" about his stance on Uber, adding: "It doesn’t matter how powerful and how big you are, you must play by the rules."
Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe, said the company had launched numerous new safety features in the app over the past two years.
He said the firm also had "better protections for drivers" and a "clean air plan" to help tackle air pollution, and was committed to "listening, learning and improving" to remain a "trusted partner in London".
Steve Garelick, regional officer of trade union GMB, accused TfL of having "kicked the can down the road" by granting the two-month extension and said Uber continued to operate "an unsafe model".
His outcry was echoed by the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association. Its general secretary, Steve McNamara, said the company was "still a huge threat to public safety".
He added: "It’s time the mayor pulled the plug on Uber’s immoral operation for good."