London - Uber is launching a range of measures, including
24-hour telephone support hotlines and better contact with local police,
in a bid to appease London’s regulator ahead of a court battle over its
license to operate in the city.
The ride-hailing company will now report "serious incidents" that
occur during a passenger’s journey to the police, rather than expecting
users to make contact. It will also share licence details of drivers
with riders, and allow those drivers to post their live location to
family or friends.
come a day after
Transport for London (TfL)- the city’s transport authority - proposed new
rules for private hire taxi companies, such as requiring them to limit
working hours for their drivers, share data on travel patterns, and
ensure the provision of wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
Before TfL enacts any of these proposals, they will be subject to
further consultation with lawmakers and other stakeholders. Uber last
month rolled out a feature on its app stopping drivers in the city
working for more than a 10-hour stretch - a measure it extended to
apply to all US drivers earlier this week.
This year is set to be a crunch time for Uber in London, one of its
most successful cities and its biggest market outside of the US Last
year TfL banned the company from operating in the capital because of
safety concerns, but allowed it to continue operating during its appeal.
The five-day hearing is set to begin on June 25. Uber is hoping that
it can settle its issues with TfL outside of court, a person familiar
with the matter
The company has been keen to show it’s willing to do what it takes
to win back its license, with CEO
Dara Khosrowshahi jumping on a plane to London following news of the ban
to begin patching up relations with transport regulators.
Sides are already being drawn for the upcoming hearing. Uber lost a bid
in December to prevent two unions representing taxi drivers from taking part in the appeal.
In a speech last month at the
World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, UK Prime Minister
Theresa May said Uber has
gotten things wrong but should not be shut down, suggesting that UK
employment law might have to change to accommodate the kinds of "gig
economy" careers that companies like Uber have made possible.