Uber will begin reporting violent incidents to the police because it rolls out a sequence of modifications to its service to attempt to placate London’s transport authority forward of a legal hearing over its licence to function.
The ride-hailing app stated on Friday it will report “critical incidents”, a concession prompted by Transport for London issues about its strategy to coping with violence reported by drivers and clients.
The modifications have been introduced a day after TfL unveiled plans to introduce rules that can require Uber, in addition to different personal rent firms, to share their journey knowledge, prepare drivers and limit their working hours.
They signify the newest compromise from Dara Khosrowshahi who has spent his first six months as Uber’s new chief government unwinding a sequence of controversies forward of an anticipated preliminary public providing subsequent yr. Final week Uber agreed to pay Alphabet’s self-driving automobile unit about $250m to settle a lawsuit accusing it of stealing commerce secrets and techniques underneath its divisive founder Travis Kalanick. Mr Khosrowshahi additionally issued an apology in November after it emerged Uber had hid a large knowledge breach from drivers and passengers.
Final September, TfL banned Uber from London, its largest European market, after discovering it was not a “match and correct” operator.
The company cited Uber’s strategy to reporting critical prison offences, acquiring safety checks and medical certificates on its drivers and its use of software program to frustrate regulation as areas of concern.
There appears to be a chunk of formality theatre happening the place TfL says we’re going to revoke the licence, Uber responds in a contrite approach, then subsequently either side make quite a few agreeable bulletins
Uber has appealed and might proceed working in London forward of a listening to this summer season. However the firm has introduced quite a few modifications to its UK service because the departure of Travis Kalanick, its founder, final yr.
“After listening to suggestions from drivers, riders, native regulators and the police we’re introducing quite a few new options and modifications to boost driver and passenger security,” stated Tom Elvidge, normal supervisor of Uber within the UK.
“We’re decided to vary the way in which we do enterprise, so we’ll keep on listening and plan to make different enhancements over the approaching months.”
Modifications embody a multimillion-pound funding in name centre workers to deal with questions from drivers and clients. From subsequent month riders may even be capable of see the licence numbers of drivers after they ebook journeys.
TfL’s coverage paper specified that non-public rent operators resembling Uber is likely to be required to “make somebody obtainable for patrons to talk to throughout working hours”.
“Security is our prime precedence and we anticipate the best requirements from all operators within the personal rent market,” TfL stated. “We welcome any transfer that has the potential to enhance the protection of personal rent drivers and their passengers.”
Uber has taken a extra conciliatory stance since Dara Khosrowshahi took over as chief government in August. Inside weeks of his appointment, Mr Khosrowshahi flew to London to debate Uber’s licence ban with Mike Brown, TfL’s commissioner.
In its coverage paper, TfL stated personal rent operators could possibly be requested to “be sure that drivers are handled pretty”, take obligatory breaks and work “affordable” hours. Uber has pledged to cap the hours drivers can work earlier than they should take a break.
The operator may should introduce extra modifications after losing an employment battle in November when a London tribunal stated it should deal with drivers as “employees” entitled to the minimal wage and vacation pay. It’s interesting towards the choice.
Uber’s modifications have raised expectations of a take care of TfL earlier than the June listening to. Tony Travers, an authority on transport on the London Faculty of Economics, stated: “There appears to be a chunk of formality theatre happening the place TfL says we’re going to revoke the licence, Uber responds in a contrite approach, then subsequently either side make quite a few agreeable bulletins.
“You’ll be able to see this being a state of affairs the place either side can peacefully coexist and Uber will get its licence again,” Professor Travers added.