Is Uber about to give in to European regulators?

 
Guy Bentley
Follow Guy
Uber softens stance on regulation (Source: Getty)

Uber is willing to consider a dialogue over the regulation of the company's services in Europe, according to Uber's vice president for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Africa Niall Wass.

Uber has faced angry opposition across Europe from regulators, politicians and taxi unions, with demonstrators across the continent voicing their displeasure at the company's regulatory status.

Traditional taxi services have argued Uber is not subject to the same standards as the established industry, creating an unlevel playing field.

The taxi app service has been expanding rapidly in across the world, with some of the most dramatic increases in sign ups coming in the wake of bans or strikes against the company.

After a Frankfurt court issued a temporary injunction against Uber banning it across the country, signups rose a whopping 590 per cent in Hamburg.

Uber has since successfully appealed against the injunction. The San Francisco-based company has typically responded to such actions with an entrepreneurial fighting spirit, championing consumer choice and slamming barriers to entry.

Uber responded to the original injunction, saying:

We believe innovation and competition is good for everyone, riders and drivers, everyone wins. You cannot put the brakes on progress. Uber will continue its operations and will offer Uberpop ridesharing services via its app throughout Germany.

However, Niall Wass has indicated Uber may be open to discussing further regulation:

We're open for that debate, if they come to us and say we like what you're doing, but here are our concerns for a particular market.

Wass did not expand on what regulations Uber would find acceptable.

"Where we will obviously need to mature, is hopefully the policy makers and regulators look at us and also agree this is a good thing—but 'we're worried about a, b and c'", he added.

The Uber executive who was previously the CEO of payday loan company Wonga said regulation in certain areas had not dampened demand for ride-sharing services. Wass pointed to the situation in California where Uber drivers are required to have insurance and undergo background checks.

Uber is still fighting regulators in Brussels after a court ordered fines of £8,200 for drivers caught using the taxi app.

Related articles