Fighting for survival in London, Uber says it can improve

Ashley Carr
September 27, 2017

The company's new chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, recently apologized following London's announcement that it would withdraw Uber's license to operate in the city.

Echoing Khosrowshahi, Uber's Head of Cities for the UK Fred Jones joined BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, and said Uber is looking to better understand TfL's concerns, particularly its driver background checks and how it reports serious incidents to the police.

Some Uber supporters say the critique is a smokescreen for a politically motivated decision to appease London taxi drivers, not protect public safety.Mayor Sadiq Khan welcomed the apology and was pleased to see the company acknowledge issues.

Uber can appeal the decision, and will be able to operate until all forms of appeal have been exhausted. "On behalf of everyone at Uber globally, I apologise for the mistakes we've made", CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote in an open letter to Londoners. Some recent upheaval in the organization, however, has left it susceptible to competitors, and a new blow to the company recently hit from Transport for London, who denied Uber's request for a renewed license.

Uber now has 21 days, until October 14, to formally appeal the decision.

"I have every sympathy with Uber drivers and customers affected by this decision but their anger really should be directed at Uber".

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Uber can continue operating in London until the company's appeal is resolved. Chief Executive Logan Green told the Associated Press in August that Lyft planned to go global "in the not too distant future".

Also stranded are the 3.5 million registered users in London, who will need to find alternative transport or use "traditional" taxis.

In its announcement last Friday, London's regulators cited Uber's lax handling of allegations of sexual assault of passengers by Uber drivers as one of the reasons it decided not to renew Uber's license.

A NCC spokeswoman added: "When issuing a private operator's licence, the council has to be satisfied that the applicant is fit and proper to hold the licence in line with legislation and the council's licensing policy". The ban also affected the firm's strategy in the ongoing disputes with other cities. In May of 2016, all ride-sharing apps including both Uber and Lyft completely ceased operations in Austin because of Uber and Lyft not fingerprinting their prospective drivers while Austin voters upheld a rule that would require Uber, Lyft and other transportation network companies there to do fingerprint-based background checks of their drivers, among other things.

While Khosrowshahi has adopted a more contrite tone than his predecessor, Uber hasn't abandoned the grassroots lobbying tactics that has helped Uber win favorable treatment from regulators around the world.

Uber has 21 days from 22 September 2017 to appeal the decision and it has stated that it will immediately challenge the decision in the courts.

Other reports by My Hot News

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