Uber boss apologises to Londoners, admits ‘we got things wrong’

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London, Sept 25 (PTI): The new chief executive of American taxi-hailing app company Uber on Monday apologised for its ‘mistakes’ but vowed to fight the London city’s decision to not renew its licence to operate in one of the company’s largest markets.

Dara Khosrowshahi, 48, made the apology in an open letter addressed to Londoners on Monday, days after Uber had been deemed not “fit and proper” to operate in London by Transport for London’s (TfL) last week.

The TfL deemed the US-based Uber unfit citing the firm’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences and background checks on drivers.

“While Uber has revolutionised the way people move in cities around the world, it’s equally true that we’ve got things wrong along the way,” he wrote.

“On behalf of everyone at Uber globally, I apologise for the mistakes we’ve made.”

“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”.

Khosrowshahi’s the letter seems to mark a decisive shift in Uber’s strategy and an attempt to present a more conciliatory approach.

“We will appeal (against) the decision on behalf of millions of Londoners, but we do so with the knowledge that we must also change,” the letter adds.

Khosrowshahi was appointed as the new CEO of the California-based company in August.

Meanwhile, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has asked the city’s transport regulator to be available to meet Uber’s boss after the firm apologised.

“I welcome the apology from Dara Khosrowshahi, the Uber CEO. Obviously I am pleased that he has acknowledged the issues that Uber faces in London,” Khan was quoted as saying by the BBC.

“Even though there is a legal process in place, I have asked TfL to make themselves available to meet with him.”

Earlier, Khan had accused Uber of adopting an aggressing stance and putting “unfair pressure” on TfL.

Khan, who is also chairman of TfL, had said, “What you can’t do is have a situation where unfair pressure is brought on a quasi-judicial body, where there are officials working incredibly hard.”

“I appreciate Uber has an army of PR experts, I appreciate Uber has an army of lawyers – they’ve also made aggressive threats about taking us to court.”

Uber’s licence to ride in London runs out on September 30 but the company can continue to operate as it appeals against TfL’s decision not to renew the licence, a process that is likely to take months.

A petition calling on the London mayor to reverse the ban on Uber has now gathered more than 750,000 signatures.

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