Uber is learning the hard when that when you fly with the crows, you get shot with the crows. Having previously adopted a crash through or crash approach to regulation, it’s new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi has expressed the need for self-reflection a letter to employees following the decision by Transport for London (TfL) to ban the company from operating in the UK capital.
“The truth is that there is a high cost to a bad reputation,” Khosrowshahi wrote. “Irrespective of whether we did everything that is being said about us in London today (and to be clear, I don’t think we did), it really matters what people think of us, especially in a global business like ours, where actions in one part of the world can have serious consequences in another.”
On Saturday, TfL announced they would not renew Uber’s private hire operator licence when it expires on September 30 due to concerns over corporate responsibility. The decision effectively ends the company’s London operations if an appeal is not successful.
“TfL has concluded that Uber London Limited is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence,” a TfL statement said.
“TfL considers that Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications.”
The news of Uber’s ban was welcomed by Australian Taxi Industry Association chief executive Blair Davies, who told Fairfax media he applauded the decision.
“Uber have been flouting laws all around the globe and we’ve seen governments cave into them, particularly in Australia and the USA,” he said.
Khosrowshahi was appointed in August following a tumultuous year for the ride hailing company including a swathe of cultural problems that lead to the ousting of CEO Travis Kalanick.
In his letter to employees he said Uber would challenge TfL’s decision but also said it was “critical that we act with integrity in everything we do, and learn how to be a better partner to every city we operate in.”
“That doesn’t mean abandoning our principles—we will vigorously appeal TfL’s decision—but rather building trust through our actions and our behavior. In doing so, we will show that Uber is not just a really great product, but a really great company that is meaningfully contributing to society, beyond its business and its bottom line,” he said.
Uber UK launched a public petition and Khosrowshahi appealed to Londoners to “work with us” to solve the issue.
Dear London: we r far from perfect but we have 40k licensed drivers and 3.5mm Londoners depending on us. Pls work w/us to make things right
— dara khosrowshahi (@dkhos) September 22, 2017
Uber has 21 days to appeal the decision and can continue operating until any appeal processes have been exhausted, according to TfL.