Dara Khosrowshahi, the new chief executive of Uber Technologies [UBER.UL], will meet the head of the London Transport system next Tuesday as the Silicon Valley giant steps up the fight to regain its licence in the British capital.
On Friday, Transport for London (TfL) denied Uber a new licence to operate.
Senior politicians across Labour and the Conservatives have used Uber to cement their respective party positions on areas like competition, regulation, and workers’ rights, as both parties go into annual conference season.
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Uber says it has followed the regulator’s rules and works closely with the Metropolitan Police.
First Uber announced it had lost its licence in the capital and now there’s a planned tube strike happening next Thursday. However, with Uber’s rival Lyft attempting to hone in on the London market, and people around the world who have similar stories about Uber pushing their communities to take similar action as London, we have yet to see if Uber will fully recover. “Uber is the school bully finally going to the headmaster”, cheers Steve McNamara of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association.
The Uber body in London isn’t even cold yet, and already Lyft is looking to swoop in and seize that fat British market for itself. And unlike other taxi regulators, it is exclusively accountable to London’s ambitious mayor, Sadiq Khan, who does not face re-election until 2020.
Moreover, different criticisms from diverse voices such as some regulators, customers, unions and investors led to the removal of Uber’s founder and CEO, Travis Kalanick. While this helps Uber to ensure that the supply of available drivers can meet demand, it can also make for a very guilt-heavy and stress-inducing user experience.
In a statement addressing the petition, Khan said: “I know that Uber has become a popular service for many Londoners – but it would be wrong for TfL to license Uber if there was any way this could pose a threat to Londoners’ safety or security”. The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission meanwhile proposed a rule that wheelchair-accessible vehicles eventually account for 25 per cent of all trips dispatched by for-hire vehicles, including Uber and Lyft. Uber will appeal the decision in court.
Uber and its biggest rival Lyft were ejected from the Texas capital of Austin past year for refusing to fingerprint their drivers.
The financial risk of operating as an Uber driver lies with the 40,000 United Kingdom workers who operate through the app. Uber could introduce employment protections, paid holidays and sick leave, minimum wages and pensions.
The meeting with Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi comes after transit authorities chose to strip the ride-hailing service of its license to operate in the city.
If Uber is stopped in its London tracks, there will be a huge impact, as there are 40,000 drivers, and 3.5 million customers who use its app at least once every three months, as reported in the article.