UPDATE (02/10/2017): Jo Bentram, Uber’s manager for northern European countries including Britain, has resigned, according to Reuters.
Tom Elvidge, general manager for London, will temporarily fill in as head of Uber’s UK business. Sky News reported last week that the company was looking to appoint a dedicated UK chairman.
Meanwhile, chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi is due to meet on Tuesday with Transport for London (TfL) commissioner Mike Brown.
UPDATE (25/09/2017): Mayor Khan accepts Uber’s mea culpa, says TfL open to talk
In an emailed statement, London mayor Sadiq Khan has welcomed Uber chief executive officer Khosrowshahi’s apologies for the company’s past behaviour, and said he has “asked TfL to make themselves available to meet with [Khosrowshahi].” The mayor acts as chairman of transit authority TfL, though he said he wasn’t involved in the decision on Uber’s license.
ORIGINAL STORY: Uber CEO seeks conciliation as rivals and Khan close in
Uber’s chief executive officer of three weeks, Dara Khosrowshahi, has apologised for the “mistakes” Uber made under Travis Kalanick’s leadership, and acknowledged that “we’ve got things wrong along the way”, in an effort to regain authorities’ accreditation for operating in London.
In an open letter published in the Evening Standard, Khosrowshahi confirmed that Uber would appeal the decision, but it would “do so with the knowledge that we must also change”.
In the immediate aftermath of Friday’s announcement that transit authority TfL would not renew Uber’s license, Khosrowshahi had circulated an internal email addressing the issue to employees. He said: “The truth is that there is a high cost to a bad reputation. Irrespective of whether we did everything that is being said about us in London today (and to be clear, I don’t think we did), 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.”
Sadiq Khan also took to the papers to give his view. Writing on the Guardian on Friday – the day TfL announced it was revoking Uber’s license – he said that he trusted TfL’s independent decision, and that “Providing an innovative service is not an excuse for it being unsafe”.
Without naming specific companies, he added: “Around the world, new private-hire vehicle companies and other disruptive technology businesses are springing up all the time, with new and different ways of working. We know it is possible to combine innovative technology within these fields while also ensuring the necessary safety standards are met. It would not be right for exceptions to be made.”
In a separate statement, he said: “I have every sympathy with Uber drivers and customers affected by this decision but their anger really should be directed at Uber. They have let down their drivers and customers by failing, in the view of TfL, to act as a fit and proper operator.”
Uber’s current license expires at the end of this month, but the company will be able to continue its operations while the appeal process is ongoing.
Meanwhile, rivals are seeking to cash in on the ride-hailing giant’s loss. MyTaxi, owned by Daimler’s mobility division, is slashing ride prices by 30% until the end of this month, and Taxify, which had to cease operations soon after launching due to its own licensing dispute with TfL, has made progress towards resuming operations, the Financial Times reported.
Meanwhile, Gett’s chief executive officer, Shahar Waiser, in an interview with the Financial Times exhorted riders to choose black cabs, which he claimed travel about a third faster than Uber cars because they were permitted to use bus lanes.
Finally, a petition was started on Friday on website Change.org, calling on TfL to allow Uber to continue operations. At the time of writing, signatures have reached 750k out of a target of 1m.
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