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Apologizing to London, Uber CEO offers change to keep license

From Reuters - September 25, 2017

LONDON (Reuters) - Ubers [UBER.UL] new boss Dara Khosrowshahi apologized to Londoners for the taxi apps mistakes and pledged to make changes as the Silicon Valley firm tries to overturn a decision to strip it of its license in one of its major markets.

The British capitals transport regulator on Friday deemed Uber unfit to run a taxi service and decided not to renew its license to operate, which will end this week, citing the firms approach to reporting serious criminal offences and background checks on drivers.

Mayor Sadiq Khan, a Labour politician who has criticized the firm in the past, said on Monday he had asked Transport for London (TfL) to be available to meet CEO Khosrowshahi.

Ubers 40,000 drivers, one third of the citys total number of private hire vehicles, will continue to take passengers until an appeals process is exhausted, which is likely to take several months.

London police complained this year that the app, which is backed by Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and BlackRock (BLK.N), was either not disclosing, or taking too long to report, serious crimes including sexual assaults and that this put the public at risk.

Its ... true that weve got things wrong along the way. On behalf of everyone at Uber globally, I apologize for the mistakes weve made, Khosrowshahi wrote in an open letter to Londoners.

We will appeal the decision on behalf of millions of Londoners, but we do so with the knowledge that we must also change, he said.

The loss of the San Francisco-based start-ups license in one of the worlds wealthiest capitals comes after a tumultuous few months that led to former CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick being forced out.

Khosrowshahi, who is less than a month into his new job, did not specify which mistakes Uber had made in London.

Ubers UK head of cities, Fred Jones, said the firm was working with the police to work out how it can better report incidents.

He also said TfL, which declined to comment on Monday, had not been clear about it concerns.

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