The chief executive of Uber Technologies has held private talks with London’s transport supremo amid the legal battle overshadowing the ride-hailing app’s biggest British operation.Sky News has learnt that Dara Khosrowshahi met Mike Brown, Transport for London (TfL) commissioner, in recent days to discuss the dispute. The meeting, which took place while Mr Khosrowshahi was…
The chief executive of Uber Technologies has held private talks with London’s transport supremo amid the legal battle overshadowing the ride-hailing app’s biggest British operation.
Sky News has learnt that Dara Khosrowshahi met Mike Brown, Transport for London (TfL) commissioner, in recent days to discuss the dispute.
The meeting, which took place while Mr Khosrowshahi was on his way to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, has not been publicly disclosed.
It came two months after Uber was banned by regulators in London for the second time in little more than two years – with London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, denouncing the company as “not fit and proper”.
The transport authority said in November that a change to Uber’s systems had enabled unauthorised drivers to upload their photographs to other Uber driver accounts – a failing that occurred in at least 14,000 trips.
“TfL has identified a pattern of failures by the company including several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk,” it said at the time.
“Despite addressing some of these issues, TfL does not have confidence that similar issues will not reoccur in the future, which has led it to conclude that the company is not fit and proper at this time.”
The ban sparked a furious response from Uber’s UK chief, who branded it “extraordinary and wrong”.
A court is expected to hear Uber’s appeal towards the end of the first half of the year.
Mr Brown is due to leave his role in May to lead the restoration of the Houses of Parliament.
Uber, the world’s biggest ride-hailing app, depends on London for the profit it generates for the wider, loss-making business.
The content of the discussion between Mr Brown and Mr Khosrowshahi was unclear on Monday, although the fact that the meeting took place is likely to provoke criticism given the fact that Uber’s continued operation in London is the subject of future court proceedings.
The two men met twice during the course of Uber’s previous London ban, according to reports at the time.
An Uber spokesperson said: “We are appealing TfL’s decision.
“Safety is our top priority which is why we have robust systems and processes in place.
“We are working closely with TfL to address their concerns and requests, as we have since 2017.
“When it comes to safety on our platform our work is never done and we will keep listening, learning and improving.”
TfL failed to respond to a request for comment.
Mr Khan is due to stand for re-election in May, making the decision to ban Uber – which counts 3.5 million Londoners as customers – a potentially politically risky call.
The original ban on Uber was overturned by the courts in June 2018, when it was handed a 15-month licence.
It was granted subject to more than a dozen conditions including the appointment of three independent directors to the board of Uber London Limited (ULL) and a requirement for the company to produce an independently verified assurance report to TfL every six months.
The presiding magistrate highlighted Uber’s refusal to accept blame for shortcomings in conducting criminal record checks on drivers and delays to informing regulators about data breaches as reasons for continuing concerns about its oversight.
Uber then won a further two-month licence before November’s ban was announced.
At the weekend, it emerged that regulators in Birmingham would delay a decision on handing the company a new licence until the outcome of its London appeal was clear.