Sunday, 26 Jan 2020

Uber U.K. head quits amid London licence row

London [U.K.], October 3 : The United Kingdom head of the app-based cab aggregator, Uber, quit the company on Monday as its worldwide boss prepares to meet the head of the London transport authority, in an attempt to get the firm's licence reinstated.

The head of the company in northern Europe Jo Bertram's resignation was not related to the decision last month by Transport for London to strip it off its licence to operate in the city, The Guardian quoted Uber, as saying, in a statement.

Bertram quit the company after four years, during which its network of U.K. drivers expanded from a few hundred to about 50,000.

"Decided to move on to something new and exciting," The Guardian quoted Bertram, as saying, in a letter to his colleagues.

"Given some of our current challenges, I'm also convinced that now is the right time to have a change of face and to hand over to someone, who will be here for the long haul and take us into the next phase," she further said.

"While I would like to have announced my move in smoother circumstances, I'm proud of the team we've built here and am very confident in their abilities to lead the business into the next chapter," she added.

On September 22, the Transport for London (TfL) had informed the Uber London Limited that it would not reissue a private hire operator license after expiry of its current license on September 30.

Uber's chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi has flown to London for talks with the transport authority due to take place on Tuesday, after admitting that the firm "got things wrong."

He will sit down with the TfL commissioner, Mike Brown, in a private meeting, with the pair expected to discuss commitments Uber can make if it wants to continue operating.

However, the meeting won't yield any immediate results with talks likely to continue over months.

Uber has also lodged a legal appeal against the revocation of its licence, which TfL said was down to concerns about whether the firm was a "fit and proper" company to run a taxi service.

The TfL's regulation of London's taxi and private hire trades is designed to ensure passenger safety.

Private hire operators must meet rigorous regulations and demonstrate to the TfL that they do so, in order to operate.

The transport department must also be satisfied that an operator is fit and proper to hold a licence. It has concluded that the app-based cab service, Uber London Limited, is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence.

The TfL considered that the Uber's approach and demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility, in relation with a number of issues, which have a potential public safety and security implications. These include:

• 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.

The Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 includes provision to appeal a licensing decision within 21 days of it being communicated to the applicant. The Uber London Limited can continue to operate until any appeal processes have been exhausted.

Earlier, a group of British MPs had written a letter to the transport department and urged it to not renew Uber's licence.

The complainants had alleged that the Uber cab service was endangering the public with numerous reports of Uber drivers of being involved in sexual assaults.

The MPs also alleged that the cab provider had underpaid and badly treated its workers, apart from avoiding taxes.

(ANI | 2 years ago)