Uber's Travis Kalanick wants to create 50,000 jobs in Europe

Guy Bentley
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Uber looks to grow in Europe (Source: Getty)

Uber's chief executive Travis Kalanick has delivered a major speech on the company's future in Europe.

Kalanick announced 2015 would the year that Uber worked with city authorities across Europe to introduce "progressive regulation" and work to update analogue rules. This follows the approach Uber has taken in the US.

Uber's top boss struck a conciliatory tone toward regulators saying he understood and welcomed the need for some forms of regulation. Kalanick pointed to Uber in the US where drivers undergo thorough background checks, as well as significant insurance.

In good news for Uber riders in Europe, the company's service UberPool in which passengers can share hired cars with riders travelling to roughly the same destination, could see a large proportion of rides become as cheap as €2.5.

Building on Uber's already impressive growth, the company hopes to create 50,000 jobs in Europe this year and take 400,000 cars off the road. Since Uber's arrival in London two years ago the San Francisco start up has created 7,800 jobs and 900,000 people have used the service.

Kalanick's ambition is for Uber to be consistently available to customers within five minutes. However, while Uber may be looking to make-up with regulators after a series of clashes last year, Kalanick had some tough words for the existing taxi industry.

Kalanick said the industry had been responsible for "regulatory capture" and was guilty of creating barriers to entry. He used New York as an example, where the total number of taxis has barely grown in the last 60 years.

The taxi industry had, in Kalanick's words, created an "artificial scarcity" and led to a situation where taxi drivers were paying a large premium for the privilege of driving a car. These drivers, according to Kalanick, were spending "$40,000 a year to be impoverished".

When questioned about Uber's safety, Kalanick said many people would feel more comfortable in an Uber than a traditional taxi. Uber has faced intense opposition from existing taxi companies and private hire vehicles across Europe.

In London, over 20,000 taxi and minicab drivers are demanding the government clamp down on Uber. The drivers, many of whom are represented by the Licensed Private Hire Car (LPHCA), say they want to put an end to Uber's alleged "unfair" tax arrangements.

Chairman of the LPHCA, Steve Wright claimed Uber was benefitting from an "unfair competitive advantage" by operating via a company in the Netherlands.

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