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Uber still has a ray of hope in London, Mayor indicates

Sheetal Sukhija - Friday 6th October, 2017

LONDON, U.K. - Ending what he called ‘constructive’ talks, London Mayor Sadiq Khan hinted that there was still hope for Uber in the British capital.

Khan said that he was satisfied with the ride-hailing firm’s global CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s apology after London’s transport agency Transport for London shocked the city and the ride-hailing service by announcing that it was not renewing Uber’s license to operate in the city.

Transport for London declared that Uber was not fit to hold a private hire operator licence in London due to concerns which have "public safety and security implications.”

TfL pointed out that these concerns include its approach to reporting serious criminal offences and how it carries out background checks on its drivers.

Uber said it will appeal within a 21-day deadline, and it will be allowed to continue operating until the legal process is exhausted.

Following the setback, Uber said that it is prepared to make concessions to ensure its licence to operate in London is renewed.

The London Mayor has now said that the apology and the different tone struck was an important factor as the company attempts to keep its foothold in the U.K. capital.

In an interview with LBC Radio, the Mayor added, “What gives me confidence about the TfL decision is the fact that the global chief executive officer for Uber apologised to London. I think that bodes well in relation to the humility which hasn’t been shown by Uber London or Uber U.K.”

Khan further noted that recent developments had given him “confidence” that the discussion was moving in the right direction.

He stressed, “The way to resolve differences is constructively, round a table, rather than through litigation.”

Khosrowshahi is said to have met with TfL to discuss the ban and some of the accusations the agency has levied against the ride-hail company.

This week, Khosrowshahi met the transport commissioner, Mike Brown and the discussion ended with both sides describing it as “constructive.”

Commenting on the cancellation of a strike planned for Thursday on the underground, and other issues with unions in London, Khan said, “[Uber’s] global CEO has gone away to do some further work and I always think, as I said before when it came to the tube strikes, the way to resolve differences is constructively and amicably around a table rather than through litigation.”

He further indicated that he wished to cut the number of minicabs on London’s streets, but did not have the power to do so. 

He said, “I’ve been lobbying the government to have the powers to cap the numbers of private hire vehicle drivers.”

He also said that he had written to the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, about the issue.

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