I wasn’t happy to see that the CEO of Uber, Dara Khosrowshahi, has issued a public apology to London for the “mistakes” the company has supposedly made.
In a letter posted to The Evening Standard on Wednesday he wrote,
“While Uber has revolutionized the way people move in cities around the world, it’s equally true that we’ve got things wrong along the way…On behalf of everyone globally, I apologise for the mistakes we’ve made.”
I don’t think that Uber has anything to atone for. The decision to revoke their London license is more because of effective lobbying of TFL by the black cab industry, than safety. There is no evidence that Uber has an especially poor safety record in London, compared to other minicab services. I don’t know a single person who is afraid to take an Uber. It has also consistently passed regulatory muster before the ban.
Most people in London really like Uber; it has made our lives a lot easier. The decision by TFL came as a complete shock. If the company loses its appeal it will cause untold disruption to travel in the city, particularly at night for people who live further out. The ban is a hugely regressive move.
I can understand Khosrowshahi playing nice. You get more bees with honey than vinegar, after all.
But I still don’t like that Uber is treated by default as suspect, as if the regulators occupy the moral ground. Much of the disapproval heaped on Uber is for political reasons. The Labour MP Rebecca Long-Bailey has absurdly said that using Uber is “immoral” and Jeremy Corbyn seems reluctant to admit he has ever taken one. It’s as if they’re talking about the organ trade not a company that provides an excellent service for consumers (and for drivers too: read this article). It is far more immoral to restrict the choice of those consumers and force them to pay high rates for less efficient transport.
Uber has been a lifesaver during the countless times I have been badly let down by cancellations on the appalling Thameslink train service.
Uber’s biggest problem is really its free market success. Why should they say sorry for that?