Is it over for Uber?


Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - NEIL LANCEFIELD ed­i­to­ri­aluxbridge@trin­i­ Twit­ter: @GetWestLon­don

UBER and Lon­don’s trans­port com­mis­sioner has de­scribed a meet­ing to dis­cuss the firm’s fu­ture as “con­struc­tive” after Trans­port for Lon­don re­fused to re­new the taxi-hail­ing app com­pany’s li­cence.

Dara Khos­row­shahi, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Uber, met Mike Brown of Trans­port for Lon­don (TfL) as Uber seeks to con­tinue op­er­at­ing in the cap­i­tal, on Thurs­day Oc­to­ber 5.

TfL had re­fused to re­new the firm’s li­cence last month on the grounds of “pub­lic safety and se­cu­rity im­pli­ca­tions”.

Uber has said it will ap­peal against the de­ci­sion, but it can con­tinue to op­er­ate dur­ing that process.

An Uber spokesman said: “Our new chief ex­ec­u­tive had a con­struc­tive meet­ing with the trans­port com­mis­sioner this af­ter­noon.

“We hope to have fur­ther dis­cus­sions over the com­ing weeks as we are de­ter- mined to make things right in Lon­don.”

A TfL spokes­woman said: “To­day’s con­struc­tive meet­ing cen­tred on what needs to hap­pen to en­sure a thriv­ing taxi and pri­vate hire mar­ket in Lon­don where ev­ery­one op­er­ates to the same high stan­dards. Fur­ther steps in this process will take place over the com­ing weeks.”

The talks were held fol­low­ing an ap­proach from Uber and at Lon­don Mayor Sadiq Khan ‘s re­quest.

The Uber app en­ables users to book cars us­ing their smart­phones and is avail­able in more than 40 towns and cities across the UK.

Some 3.5 mil­lion pas­sen­gers and 40,000 driv­ers used the ser­vice in Lon­don, ac­cord­ing to Uber.

TfL has a num­ber of con­cerns about Uber, in­clud­ing its ap­proach to re­port­ing se­ri­ous crim­i­nal of­fences, how driv­ers’ med­i­cal cer­tifi­cates are ob­tained, how crim­i­nal record checks are car­ried out, and its use of tech­nol­ogy which al­legedly helps it to evade law en­force­ment of­fi­cials.

Mr Khos­row­shahi took over at Uber in Au­gust after pre­de­ces­sor Travis Kalan­ick re­signed fol­low­ing a se­ries of scan­dals.

The new boss has apol­o­gised for “the mis­takes we’ve made” and ac­cepted that the com­pany had “got things wrong”.

Uber will chal­lenge the li­cence de­ci­sion “with the knowl­edge that we must also change”, he said.

More than 840,000 peo­ple have signed an on­line pe­ti­tion launched by Uber, urg­ing TfL to re­verse its rul­ing.

The firm’s UK head Jo Ber­tram quit her post on Monday after four years with the com­pany.

The head of northern Europe af­fairs said an “ex­cit­ing new op­por­tu­nity has arisen that will al­low me to ap­ply what I’ve learnt here and I’ll be able to share more details with you soon”.

A spokesman for the com­pany de­nied the move was driven by Uber’s cur­rent li­cens­ing is­sues, but Ms Ber­tram said: “Given some of our cur­rent chal­lenges, I’m also con­vinced that now is the right time to have a change of face, and to hand over to some­one who will be here for the long haul.”

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