“I appreciate Uber has an army of PR experts, I appreciate Uber has an army of lawyers – they’ve also made aggressive threats about taking us to court”, Khan said at the time.
A petition launched on Friday by Uber to ask TfL to renew its licence had collected 762, 000 signatures Monday.
The California-based ride-hailing service firm had taken various measures in an attempt to reverse the decision. Black cab drivers have been staging protests and blockades for years arguing that Uber’s dominance goes against the long-standing agreements surrounding the special place that Black cabs hold in London.
The company’s license began in 2012 and it expires on September 30, 2017. The authority also regrets the use of a software allowing the drivers to avoid being identified in areas where they do not have the right to operate and provide medical certificates not reliable.
“Obviously I am pleased that he has acknowledged the issues that Uber faces in London”, Khan said.
Sydney has certainly embraced Uber, with over one million current customers (well, current app users – you aren’t all in Ubers at the moment), and 20,000 drivers.
Regardless of the end result, Uber’s predicament in London emphasizes the need for the company to implement sweeping change, as they are at risk of falling into a similar situation in other cities, especially as its rivals continue to grow. “They have let down their drivers and customers by failing, in the view of TfL, to act as a fit and proper operator”, Khan said in his latest statement.
TfL forced 13,000 drivers, many of whom work for Uber, into compulsory, enhanced criminal checks this month as a “precautionary measure”.
Mr Khosrowshahi admits in the letter that “we have got things wrong along the way”.
“The truth is that there is a high cost to a bad reputation”, he wrote. “It really matters what people think of us, especially in a global business like ours, where actions in one part of the world can have serious consequences in another”. “It is more efficient, safer and economical than the alternatives”. The city’s recent decision to pull Uber’s operating license has inflamed these tensions once again. And Sundararajan says that the move could also be a part of a more general backlash against big tech companies from overseas. But he also said that Uber must look at how it got into the mess. Uber says it complies with the same background checks that the cab drivers undergo in London and that it works closely with police. “It is just not clear to us what those concerns are”.
It’ll be interesting to watch the tech giant continue to navigate through these differing regulations and to continue upset ride-hailing markets in cities across the globe in the upcoming months and years – to be complicated by animpending IPO.
Its tactic has often been to arrive in a city, break a few rules, and then apologise when it’s rapped over the knuckles. “This company needs to be regulated”. Meanwhile, the London mayor urged the thousands of people who had signed a petition against the ban to “direct their anger” at the firm.
The company can keep operating in London until the appeal is concluded. The regulator cited “public safety and security” concerns.
On Friday, Transport for London (TfL) denied Uber a new licence to operate.
But Fred Jones, who oversees Uber’s operations in a number of cities across the United Kingdom and Ireland, pushed back on that claim, telling the BBC that Uber drivers have to pass the same safety checks as black cab and minicab drivers in London.