Uber boss to meet London transport chief to try to regain licence

Uber’s chief executive will meet London’s transport commissioner next week, as the global ride-hailing app tries to win back its licence to operate in the UK capital.

Dara Khosrowshahi, who took over the in the role a month ago, will meet the Transport for London boss, Mike Brown, on Tuesday, 10 days after the regulator said it would not renew Uber’s private-hire licence.

TfL said Uber was not a “fit and proper” company to hold a licence, citing its conduct and approach in areas including checks on drivers and reporting criminal offences.

Uber has said it will appeal within a 21-day deadline, and it will be allowed to continue operating until the legal process is exhausted.

The licensing decision sparked an outcry from some users and drivers, but it was strongly backed by the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, who said all companies had to play by the rules. However, following a contrite open letter from Khosrowshahi to Londoners, Khan urged TfL bosses to talk to him.

TfL said: “Following an approach from Uber, and at the mayor’s request, London’s transport commissioner will meet with Uber’s global CEO in London next Tuesday.”



Dara Khosrowshahi will meet London’s transport commissioner on Tuesday. Photograph: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A spokesman for Uber said: “Our new CEO is looking forward to meeting with the commissioner next week. As he said on Monday, we want to work with London to make things right.”

TfL insists the meeting will not affect the licensing appeal, which is likely to start at Westminster magistrates court, and officials directly responsible are not scheduled to hold further talks with Uber.

However, a source said Khosrowshahi’s visit was a “good sign”, since TfL had concerns about Uber’s cooperation with its regulatory process. They said: “There have been suggestions that he’s going to change the structure in London and so we might be dealing with a different kettle of fish.”

Khosrowshahi, who was appointed in an attempt to reform Uber’s corporate culture after a series of scandals, apologised for the company’s mistakes in London and vowed it would change its ways. He wrote in his letter that the company would fight TfL’s ruling, “but we do so with the knowledge that we must also change”.

On Thursday, Theresa May said the decision not to renew Uber’s London licence was disproportionate, and accused the mayor of putting thousands of jobs at risk.

The prime minister also acknowledged the concerns of the traditional taxi trade – a highly vocal lobby against Uber – by calling for “a level playing field between the private firms and our wonderful London taxis, our black cabs, our great national institution”.

Khan and TfL have been urged in a petition signed by more than 800,000 people to renew Uber’s licence.

Further pressure was heaped on Khan by the Evening Standard, under the editorship of George Osborne, a highly paid adviser to the Uber investor BlackRock.

In a leader on Friday, the paper said the mayor had “indulged in unnecessarily provocative language” and “should ensure that costly litigation is not necessary”.

The editorial continued: “Uber’s continued presence here is in the interests of Londoners and the capital’s economy. The mayor should realise his mistake and ensure that next week’s meeting leads to its licence being restored.”


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