Uber tries three-pronged response to loss of London licence (and 5% of worldwide business) [U]

Update: Make that four approaches … CEO Dara Khosrowshahi  has also written a letter of apology to Londoners for the company’s failings.

We will appeal this decision on behalf of millions of Londoners, but we do so with the knowledge that we must also change […] We won’t be perfect, but we will listen to you; we will look to be long-term partners with the cities we serve; and we will run our business with humility, integrity and passion”.

Uber is trying three separate approaches to overturn a decision not to renew its operating license in London when it expires on Saturday …

Transport for London’s (TfL) decision was a significant blow for the company, with Londoners reportedly making up 5% of its worldwide base of regular users.

TfL gave Uber only eight days’ notice when it announced its decision on Friday, stating that an investigation had concluded that the company was unfit to hold a license. The company is now fighting back on three fronts.

First, it is pushing for a meeting with TfL to discuss the issues and see whether an action plan to address them can be agreed. The WSJ reports that the company is reaching out to the regulatory body today.

Second, it has launched an online petition calling for the decision to be overturned, and pushing a link to this when people open the app in London. The petition has almost three-quarters of a million signatures at the time of writing, a huge number in a city with a population of around 8.7M people.

Third, Uber has announced that it will be mounting a legal challenge to the ruling. TfL has said that the company will be allowed to continue operations beyond the expiry of its license, pending the outcome of this appeal.

Two of the claims made against the company were that it failed to properly vet drivers, alleging that its medical and criminal record checks were inadequate. Its use of Greyball to evade regulatory checks was a third reason, while a fourth one was more controversial: that Uber failed to report to the police two sexual assaults on riders by drivers. TfL maintains that the company has an obligation to do so, while Uber argues that it is for the victim to decide whether or not they wish a police report to be filed.

Photo: Reuters

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