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Uber’s new CEO apologizes to Londoners after citywide ban

Uber is expected to appeal the ban before Oct. 13.

Sep 25, 2017, 12:44 pm

Tech

 

Phillip Tracy

Just one month into his position as CEO of Uber, Dara Khosrowshahi is already apologizing to the entire city of London.

In a letter published in the Evening Standard and later on Twitter, the newly appointed executive admitted a myriad of mistakes and promised to appeal London’s decision to ban Uber.

“We won’t be perfect, but we will listen to you; we will look to be long-time partners with the cities we serve; and we will run our business with humility, integrity and passion,” he wrote.

The letter comes a few days after Khosrowshahi sent a self-reflecting email to Uber employees, “The truth is that there is a high cost to a bad reputation,” he wrote.

Uber started operating in London five years ago and enjoyed a ride-hailing marketplace without significant competition. According to BuzzFeed, 40,000 people drive for Uber in London and 3.5 million residents use the ride-sharing platform. But on Friday, Transport for London (TfL) ruled that Uber didn’t meet its “rigorous regulations” to ensure passenger safety following pressure from 10 cross-party Members of Parliment (PMs).

A letter from the PMs to TfL claimed Uber allowed rape and sexual assault cases to develop and accused the company of paying its drivers as little as two pounds an hour. British Labour PM Wes Streeting said today that Khosrowshahi’s apology sounds like a “slick PR strategy” unless the company acts on its words.

On Sept. 22, TfL chose to let Uber’s contract expire, giving the company 21 days—until Oct. 13—to appeal the decision. The transportation organization cited Greyball, custom software made by Uber to help it avoid law enforcement, as the main reason for its decision, claiming the company’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.”

“We will appeal this decision on behalf of millions of Londoners, but we do so with the knowledge that we must also change,” Khosrowshahi wrote. “As Uber’s new CEO, it is my job to help Uber write its new chapter.”

Uber can continue to operate until the appeal process completes.

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*First Published: Sep 25, 2017, 12:44 pm