Uber CEO apologizes to customers after London pulls license

The firm has until October 14 to formally appeal TfL's decision.

Transport for London's decision to cancel Uber's private hire licence has angered numerous 3.5 million Londoners who have come to rely on the cheaper alternatives to black cabs. They must also improve rights and conditions for drivers.

Uber has apologised after losing its licence to operate in London. The company has 21 days to appeal the decision, and is allowed to continue working and driving throughout the process.

Vowing to appeal the decision by Transport for London (TfL) to not renew the company's licence, Khosrowshahi said he accepted that the company "must change".

London is Uber's biggest market in Europe and considered to be one of the taxi-hailing company's top three markets in terms of revenue.

The company, which provides a smartphone application that connects passengers with drivers who work as independent contractors, argues it isn't a traditional transportation company. Although Uber claims the software was created to flag users who violate the company's terms of service, a New York Times report earlier this year found that Uber had also used the software to "identify and circumvent officials who were trying to clamp down on the ride-hailing service". Uber has been valued at about $70 billion. Uber also tweeted saying that they have been keen in following the procedure of reporting crimes.

"Obviously I am pleased that he has acknowledged the issues that Uber faces in London". It flagged up Uber's approach to how medical certificates were obtained - for example, drivers using an online GP service via video rather than having a check in person as the regulations insist. With Sadiq Khan also being the chairman of TfL, it's extremely likely that the next step will be talks between Uber and TfL. The regulator cited "public safety and security" concerns.

His tone represents a clear break from the confrontational position Uber took on Friday, when it accused TfL of closing London off to innovation and bowing to vested interests. Those cities do not have a powerful black cab industry like London does.

Uber has already begun borrowing pages from that playbook.

But Lyft, a United States rival to Uber with no imminent plans to launch in the United Kingdom, had five meetings with TfL in the last 12 months.

In addition to the apology, Uber started a petition to reverse the ban.

Uber says it has followed the regulator's rules and works closely with the Metropolitan Police.

Khosrowshahi opens by thanking Londoners for their support and stories of how they use the app, then goes on to say that Uber is a revolutionary company but that "we've got things wrong along the way".

ARNOLD: OK, but there is still a reason that Uber is popular in London. "No doubt other major cities will be looking at this decision and considering Uber's future on their own streets".

The new law was introduced to Parliament by Transport Minister Simon Bridges just over a year ago, and passed last month. In 2001, while I was CEO of Baxter International, a $12 billion health care company, a dialysis filter product made in a Swedish plant owned by Baxter was blamed for 53 deaths in several countries.

"Once again we have a member with serious concerns about Uber's systems and practices, which place the basic safety needs of the worker as secondary to the imposition of a rigid and purely profit-based model", said Maria Ludkin, GMB's legal director.

"Transport for London and the mayor have caved in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice".

  • Zachary Reyes