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I'm sorry for the mistakes we've made: Uber CEO tells London

CEO Khosrowshahi did not specify what mistakes Uber had made in London

Reuters  |  London 

Dara Khosrowshahi
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi speaks during the 2010 Reuters Travel and Leisure Summit in New York | Photo: Reuters

Uber's new boss apologised to Londoners for the taxi app's mistakes and pledged to make changes as the firm tries to overturn a decision to strip it of its licence in one of its major markets.

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

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

police complained this year that Uber, which is backed by and BlackRock, was either not disclosing, or taking too long to report, serious crimes including sexual assaults and that this put the public at risk.

"It's...true that we've got things wrong along the way. On behalf of everyone at globally, I apologise for the mistakes we've made," CEO 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-up's licence in one of the world's wealthiest capitals comes after a tumultuous few months that led to former CEO and co-founder being forced out.

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

Uber's 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 Transport for (TfL) had not been clear about its concerns.

"Once we understand them we can work with them to figure out what is it that they would like us to do and how can we move forward and I think that's the important next step," Jones told BBC radio.

TfL declined to comment on Monday.

'Army of Lawyers'

The Mayor of Sadiq Khan, a Labour politician who has criticised the firm in the past, backed TfL's decision and attacked the app's response.

"I appreciate has an army of lawyers, they've also made aggressive threats about taking us to court and the rest of it," he told BBC radio.

"You can't have it both ways: on the one hand acting in an aggressive manner for all sorts of things but on the other hand brief to journalists that they want to do a deal with TfL," he said, adding that which played by the rules were welcome in

The firm has until Oct. 14 to formally appeal TfL's decision and the case is likely to be filed at Westminster Magistrates' Court in

Uber, which began operating in in 2012, has faced regulatory and legal setbacks around the world and has been forced to quit several countries including and Hungary.

However, it has also managed to overturn bans and other crackdowns.

Earlier this year, Italy briefly blocked from operating, citing unfair competition, but lifted the prohibition a week later whilst in Taiwan, it resumed its services in April after talks with the island's authorities, ending a two-month suspension.

A petition calling on to overturn its decision not to renew Uber's licence had gathered more than 750,000 signatures at noon on Monday.

"This ban shows the world that is far from being open and is closed to innovative companies, who bring choice to consumers and work opportunities to those who need them," the petition says.

First Published: Mon, September 25 2017. 18:34 IST