In the wake of damaging legal decisions, banning the service from operating in countries like Spain and Belgium, ride-sharing app Uber has changed its approach in Europe. During this weekend's DLD15 Conference, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced a "new partnership with Europe" and quantified meaningful goals: he wants to take 400,000 cars off European roads, create 50,000 new jobs and expand UberPOOL, while reducing emissions.
"Uber is committed to establishing new partnerships with Europe's cities to ensure innovation, harness powerful economic benefits and promote core city functions", said Travis Kalanick. The DLD15 Conference was held in Munich, Germany, one of the countries that issued a ban against the app in 2014 and prompted Uber to change its business model, in order to continue to operate in the country.
The company shared a blog post on Sunday, stating that the cities where it's been around the longest have seen "tens of thousands of new jobs" and attracted "millions of riders." Uber says it is working with governments to ensure public safety is protected, choice and competition thrive and economic growth and tax revenue rise.
Uber allows consumers to ask for a private ride using a smartphone app that locates the nearest driver and sends back the details. The service also allows private, non-professional drivers to apply for work in the ride-sharing network, which is the reason why so many cities question the legal aspects of the service.
Last December, the District Attorney's offices of San Francisco and Los Angeles sued Uber for unlawful business practices, bringing into question the safety of the app's users and accusing the company of misleading its customers. The state of Nevada had previously ordered the suspension of the service, as did the state of Virginia. Uber also ran into trouble in India, Thailand, and the Netherlands. In the UK, thousands of black cab drivers protested against the app during the summer.
The San Francisco based start-up is now taking these problems more seriously and noted in the blog post that 22 different jurisdictions in the United States passed new laws regulating ride-sharing. Similar measures are being considered in the Netherlands, Brussels and Helsinki, the company says.
These are the principles Uber commits to in the new partnerships with European cities:
- Rider and Driver Safety, with multi-layered background checks of the drivers
- Choice and Competition, benefiting consumers and providing means for the cities to reduce DUIs
- Economic Growth, granted that cities abolish limits on the number of transportation jobs and streamline the licensing process
- Tax Collection, by increasing transportation providers' compliance and overall tax revenue for cities and countries across Europe.
Uber also commits to sharing smart data with partner cities, following a recent agreement with the city of Boston. "We look forward to working together in the months ahead", the company says. #Internet