Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi writes open letter to Londoners: Sorry "we got things wrong" after licence pulled by TfL

Lynsey Barber
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Dara Khosrowshahi is facing his first major issue as Uber CEO (Source: Getty)

Uber's newly installed chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi has apologised to Londoners, telling them "we've got things wrong along the way" in an open letter and promising to change.

It comes after Transport for London said it would not renew its licence to operate in the capital.

He said:

"We want to thank everyone who uses Uber for your support over the last few days. It's been amazing to hear your stories of Uber improving lives across the city - from drivers who use our app to earn a living, to riders who rely on us to get home safely after a night out.

"While Uber has revolutionised the way people move in cities around the world, it's equally true that we've got things wrong along the way. On behalf of everyone at Uber globally, I apologise for the mistakes we've made.

"We will appeal the decision on behalf of millions of Londoners, but we do so with the knowledge that we must also change. As Uber's new CEO it's my job to help Uber write its next chapter.

"We won't be perfect but we will listen to you; we will look to be long term partners with the cities we serve; and we will run our business with humility, integrity and passion.

"Here in London w've already started doing more to contribute to the city. Wheelchair accessibile vehicles are on the road and our Clean Air Plan will help tackle pollution.

"You have my commitment that we will work with London to amke things right and keep this great global city moving safely."

The move signals an opposite tack to his predecessor, Uber founder Travis Kalanick, who was famed for his adversarial approach, particularly when it comes to regulation, but which has ended leaving the startup's reputation in tatters this year - something Khosrowshahi was brought in to help fix.

It's likely to be met with speculation from critics, however. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has already accused the company of acting in an aggressive manner but also briefing the press that they wanted talks with Transport for London, earlier today. But, he welcomed the apology and encouraged talks between the two sides.

“I welcome the apology from Dara Khosrowshahi, the Uber CEO. Obviously I am pleased that he has acknowledged the issues that Uber faces in London," he said.

“Even though there is a legal process in place, I have asked TfL to make themselves available to meet with him."

The billion dollar company has already fallen back on a tried and tested approach to high profile run ins with regulators in London, corralling public support with a direct appeal to users of the service and urging them to sign a petition. It has already gained more than half a million signatures in three days.

Labour MP Wes Streeting who was among a group of MPs calling on TfL not to renew Uber's licence, cautiously welcomed the latest move by the firm.

"It's right that Uber's chief executive has apologised for mistakes, but now we need to see some concrete action to rectify them," he said.

"They can start by abiding by the same safety regulations as everyone else; paying their drivers properly with fair terms and conditions; and by paying their fair share of taxes in the UK. Otherwise this will look more like a slick PR strategy than a genuine commitment to change."

Uber is understood to be seeking talks with TfL to tackle the safety issues which were cited as a reason for not renewing the licence, while at the same time planning to file an appeal in case such efforts are unsuccessful.

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