Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

London — Uber is seeking an 18-month permit to operate in London as the company battles the city’s transport regulator to keep offering rides, according to a person familiar with the talks.

The suggestion dates back to April, when Uber was giving evidence to London’s Westminster magistrates’ court, and no formal application has been made, said the person, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. The company posited that a licence of such length would be appropriate to let the business show it was making positive changes in the city, the person said.

Last year, Transport for London (TfL) banned the company from operating in the city, citing safety concerns, but allowed it to continue operating during its appeal. The company is preparing for a court battle with TfL over the decision, due to begin June 25.

A spokesman for Uber in London declined to comment. London’s LBC talk radio first reported the news on Thursday, without saying where it got the information.

Uber has been making numerous efforts to appease regulators and regional critics. It created 24-hour phone support hotlines, promised better contact with police and pledged to report any "serious incidents" that occur during a passenger’s journey, and to share drivers’ licence details with riders. It also began imposing limits on the number of hours workers could log before being required to take a break.

Following the April court hearing in London, a lawyer for Uber said the transport authority’s list of concerns with the company had more than halved to 11 from 25 after it committed to governance changes and apologised for setting up hostile software.