Uber ready to make concessions to reverse London license decision: paper

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A photo illustration shows the Uber app on a mobile telephone, as it is held up for a posed photograph in central London, Britain September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. taxi firm Uber is prepared to make concessions as it seeks to reverse a decision by London authorities not to renew its license in the city, which represents a potentially big blow for the fast-growing company, a newspaper reported.

The Sunday Times also quoted sources close to London’s transport body as saying the move was encouraging and suggested the possibility of talks.

“While we haven’t been asked to make any changes, we’d like to know what we can do,” Tom Elvidge, Uber’s general manager in London, told the newspaper. “But that requires a dialogue we sadly haven’t been able to have recently.

A spokesman for Transport for London (TfL) declined to comment.

The Sunday Times said Uber’s concessions were likely to involve passenger safety and benefits for its drivers, possible limits on working hours to improve road safety and holiday pay.

TfL stunned the powerful U.S. start-up on Friday when it deemed Uber unfit to run a taxi service for safety reasons and stripped it of its license from Sept. 30, although the company can continue to operate while it appeals.

The regulator cited failures to report serious criminal offences, conduct sufficient background checks on drivers and other safety issues.

Uber responded by urging users in London to sign a petition that said the city authorities had “caved in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice”. The move echoed Uber’s strategy in disputes with other cities.

By 2200 GMT on Saturday, more than 600,000 people had signed although it was not clear how many of them were in London.

A spokesman for Uber said around 20,000 Uber drivers had emailed the city’s mayor directly to object to the decision.

Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Paul Simao

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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