London’s transport authority, Transport for London (TfL) announced that they will not renew Uber London’s license to operate in London once it expires on the 30th of September. They cited issues with Uber’s security policies and said that private hire operators must meet rigorous regulations, and demonstrate to TfL that they do so, in order to operate.
TfL also went on to state that Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications which includes the following below.
- Its approach to reporting serious criminal offences.
- Its approach to how medical certificates are obtained.
- Its approach to how Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are obtained.
- Its approach to explaining the use of Greyball in London – software that could be used to block regulatory bodies from gaining full access to the app and prevent officials from undertaking regulatory or law enforcement duties.
TfL states that Uber has a right to appeal the decision within 21 days and Uber still can operate as per usual until the appeal has been completed.
In a response, newly minted CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, tweeted the following.
Dear London: we r far from perfect but we have 40k licensed drivers and 3.5mm Londoners depending on us. Pls work w/us to make things right
— dara khosrowshahi (@dkhos) 22 September 2017
He further went to send an email to employees at Uber which gives a stark contrast to what Uber has been known for, hustling their way through issues such as this.
From: Dara Khosrowshahi
Date: Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 12:53 PM
Subject: Re: Update on London’s License
Thanks, Pierre, and thanks to everyone working on this issue.
Like all of you, I’m hugely disappointed in the decision by London’s Mayor and Transport for London. It could have profound negative consequences for the 40,000 drivers who depend on Uber for work and the 3.5 million Londoners who rely on Uber to get around.
It’s particularly discouraging that this is happening in the UK, where the team has led the way on partnerships with local groups to increase the number of wheelchair-accessible and electric vehicles on the road.
While the impulse may be to say that this is unfair, one of the lessons I’ve learned over time is that change comes from self-reflection. So it’s worth examining how we got here. 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.
Going forward, it’s critical that we act with integrity in everything we do and learn how to be a better partner to every city we operate in. That doesn’t mean abandoning our principles—we will vigorously appeal TfL’s decision—but rather building trust through our actions and our behaviour. In doing so, we will show that Uber is not just a really great product, but a really great company that is meaningfully contributing to society, beyond its business and its bottom line.
Thanks for everything you’re going to make Uber the best company it can be, and particularly to our teammates in London and across the UK.
The key is that Uber’s new style of leadership is all about integrity and learning about the consequences they have to face based on past decisions. Seems like there is a steady head at the helm that the company needs. Khosrowshahi took over the helm of Uber after Travis Kalanick was forced down. Khosrowshahi was formerly the CEO of Expedia, the online travel company and was the 3rd choice of Uber’s board to helm the struggling tech giant.