Uber apol­o­gises af­ter Lon­don ban and ad­mits ‘we got things wrong’

Lon­don mayor Sadiq Khan says he wel­comes apol­ogy by CEO of ride-hail­ing app, which has been stripped of its li­cence

Fiji Sun - - Global, Regional Business -

Uber’s chief ex­ec­u­tive has apol­o­gised for the taxi app’s mis­takes in Lon­don and promised to change as the com­pany fights a de­ci­sion by the city not to re­new its li­cence.

The firm is bat­tling to keep op­er­at­ing in the cap­i­tal af­ter Trans­port for Lon­don de­cided not to re­new its li­cence to op­er­ate. Uber’s Lon­don li­cence ex­pires on 30 Septem­ber, al­though it will con­tinue to run taxis while it pur­sues a le­gal ap­peal process that could last a year.

TfL said last week Uber was not a “fit and proper” pri­vate car-hire op­er­a­tor and cited four ar­eas of con­cern, in­clud­ing its ap­proach to re­port­ing crim­i­nal of­fences and car­ry­ing out background checks on driv­ers. But sources close to TfL in­di­cated that a change of con­duct from the taxi firm, the cul­ture of which is be­ing re­formed by its new chief ex­ec­u­tive, could leave the door open to a fresh li­cence ap­pli­ca­tion. Dara Khos­row­shahi, who suc­ceeded Uber founder Travis Kalan­ick as CEO a month ago, wrote in an open let­ter: “While Uber has rev­o­lu­tionised the way peo­ple move in cities around the world, it’s equally true that we’ve got things wrong along the way. On be­half of every­one at Uber glob­ally, I apol­o­gise for the mis­takes we’ve made.

“We will ap­peal [against] the de­ci­sion on be­half of mil­lions of Lon­don­ers, but we do so with the knowl­edge that we must also change.”

Sadiq Khan, the Lon­don mayor and chair of TfL, said he wel­comed Khos­row­shahi’s apol­ogy. “Ob­vi­ously I am pleased that he has ac­knowl­edged the is­sues that Uber faces in Lon­don,” Khan said. “Even though there is a le­gal process in place, I have asked TfL to make them­selves avail­able to meet with him.” How­ever, an­other Uber ex­ec­u­tive told the BBC on Mon­day he com­pany did not un­der­stand the con­cerns of Lon­don’s trans­port reg­u­la­tor.

Fred Jones, an ex­ec­u­tive at Uber’s UK op­er­a­tion, said: “Sit­ting down with TfL rep­re­sen­ta­tives as soon as pos­si­ble would be the most help­ful thing to re­ally un­der­stand their con­cerns, to work out what they are. It is just not clear to us what those con­cerns are.”

When asked why Uber does not report crim­i­nal of­fences di­rectly to the po­lice and in­stead no­ti­fies TfL, which length­ens the in­ves­tiga­tive process, Jones said: “We fol­low the rules.”

Re­fer­ring to one spe­cific in­ci­dent in­volv­ing an Uber driver who sex­u­ally as­saulted a pas­sen­ger, he said: “We hold our hands up, we made a mis­take. In that in­ci­dent we just didn’t re­alise when that pas­sen­ger wrote in how se­ri­ous it was ... We apol­o­gise to every­one in­volved.”

The Uber driver in­volved stayed on the com­pany’s books and went on to com­mit an­other, more se­ri­ous, at­tack.

Dara Khos­row­shahi, Uber chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer.

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