Scene is set for both sides to claim vic­tory on Uber ban

The Observer - - BUSINESS / ANALYSIS -

Transport for Lon­don’s sur­prise ban­ish­ment of Uber – and the sub­se­quent bi­par­ti­san peace talks – in­creas­ingly feel like care­fully staged theatre. The ride-hail­ing app’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Dara Khos­row­shahi held a tête à tête with TfL com­mis­sioner Mike Brown last week, a per­sonal touch de­signed to show he is tak­ing the firm’s rep­u­ta­tional strug­gles se­ri­ously.

Both TfL and mayor Sadiq Khan wel­comed this ges­ture of con­tri­tion and the script is ready for a deal al­low­ing both sides to claim vic­tory. Khos­row­shahi need only make mi­nor tweaks to al­lay TfL’s con­cerns about driver back­ground checks and re­port­ing of crime. That will cast him as the face of a new era of so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity at Uber, while TfL and Khan can boast that they took on a Cal­i­for­nian tech gi­ant and won.

It would be no great shock if Uber won its li­cence back by Christ­mas. But con­cerns about is­sues such as labour rights for driv­ers will linger on.

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