An image showing an Uber app in Central London, Britain, on Friday. (EPA photo)
LONDON: Uber Technologies Inc is prepared to make concessions to restore its revoked London taxi license, the Sunday Times reported, two days after the ride service said it would fight the suspension in court.
Tom Elvidge, general manager of Uber in London, told the newspaper his company would like to meet to resolve the situation. Rival Lyft Inc, a start-up also based in San Francisco, may be positioning to benefit from Uber’s demise in the capital after holding meetings with London transport officials in the past year, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
Transit agency Transport for London (TfL) decided Friday to revoke Uber’s license due to failures to do proper background checks on drivers, report crimes and a program called “Greyball” used to avoid regulators. London is one of Uber’s largest and most lucrative markets, with 40,000 drivers and 3.5 million people who use the app once every 90 days.
“We’d like to know what we can do…to sit down and work together to get this right,” Mr Elvidge told the Sunday Times. Uber is ready to make changes on passenger safety and driver benefits, the newspaper reported. Sources close to TfL said the move was encouraging and suggested the possibility of talks, the Sunday Times said.
The comments mark a change of tone from the company. Mr Elvidge said Friday, “We intend to immediately challenge this in the courts.”
Uber and Lyft didn’t immediately respond to emailed requests for comment sent outside business hours.
Uber has 21 days after the Sept 30 revocation to file an appeal. It can continue the service until the end of the appeals process. The company is reeling from the ouster of former chief executive officer Travis Kalanick and grappling with allegations of sexual harassment, labour-rights abuses, skirting regulation, bribery of government officials and a lawsuit accusing it of stealing self-driving car technology.
“Clearly the public as a whole want rapid access to taxis of all sorts,” Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said on the ’s “Andrew Marr Show” on Sunday. “It should be regulated, the people should be protected.”
Uber has collected more than 600,000 signatures on a petition to protest the decision and is targeting 1 million supporters. The campaign on the website Change.org asks London Mayor Sadiq Khan to reverse TfL’s decision and is being promoted on the company’s app in London.