February 16, 2018 / 1:04 PM / a month ago

Uber introduces new safety features as it fights to retain London licence

LONDON (Reuters) - Taxi service Uber, battling to retain its licence to operate in the British capital, said on Friday it would introduce new safety features, including 24-hour telephone support for riders and drivers.

An Uber taxi is driven away from New Street Railway Station in Birmingham, Britain February 5, 2018. REUTERS/Darren Staples

The app said it would review all previous serious complaints and, from next month, give riders across Britain the licence number of the driver on their booking confirmation and electronic receipt.

It will also report any serious incidents to police itself rather than leave it to the individuals involved.

Uber is appealing against Transport for London’s decision to strip it of its operating licence in September last year.

TfL cited problems with the company’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences and background checks - a decision the Silicon Valley firm is appealing.

The substance of Uber’s appeal is due to be heard over five days from June 25 with a preliminary hearing due to take place before then in April to discuss further administrative matters.

The Silicon Valley firm, which has faced bans, restrictions and protests around the world as it disrupts traditional rivals, can continue to operate until the appeals process is exhausted, which could take several years.

Last month, Uber said its British drivers will have to take a six-hour break after they have accepted and made trips with passengers totalling 10 hours as it responded to criticism by trade unions and MPs over excessive working hours.

Reporting by Stephen Addison, editing by Sarah Young

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