Uber has faced a lot of global backlash recently, due to several cases involving driver misconduct, as well as the company’s questionably background screening process and its attempts to circumvent local transportation regulations in many countries around the world. As part of Uber’s efforts to restore its reputation, the popular ride-sharing company is trying to establish better cooperation with cities in which it offers its services. After reaching an agreement with Boston to share data and technology with local authorities in order to help them solve traffic congestion problems, Uber is now looking to do the same thing with some European cities.
The company wants to expand operations in Europe, a market that it has been struggling to conquer for a while now, with a couple of countries trying to ban it, because it fails to meet driver licensing regulations. In order to address the problems it faces in Europe, Uber will try to work with local governments and bring serious economic benefits to the region.
During a speech at the DLD15 Conference in Munich, Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, said that his company is capable of creating 50,000 jobs in the European Union (EU) over the next twelve months if governments are willing to cooperate. “We want to make 2015 the year we establish a new partnership with EU cities. We want to promote core city functions through partnerships on data and technology,” Kalanick said, and added: “By the end of 2015, if we make these partnerships happen, we’ll create 50,000 new EU jobs.”
According to him, Uber has already helped create about 7,000 jobs across the world, and it can do it in Europe, as well, if governments are ready to accept some of the regulatory changes it proposes. This approach is definitely very different from the aggressive growth tactics that Uber has used so far when trying to expand to new markets. The main things that Uber is expected to ask from European governments include making the driver licensing process less complicated and removing the cap on transportation jobs.
Along with efforts to tackle unemployment in Europe, Uber is looking to solve traffic congestion issues in cities across the continent. Kalanick said that his company should be considered as a complement to public transportation systems, and that it can help take as many as 400,000 cars off the streets in the EU this year, offering people a more convenient and cost-effective alternative to owning a car. The company is willing to share information about the trips taken by users of the popular ride-sharing app with cities within the EU, which could help them ease traffic congestion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
With this new approach, Uber hopes to overcome the problems that have hampered its expansion plans in Europe, and fend off criticism that it is faced with in countries like France, Germany and Belgium, where it has been getting a mixed reception so far. Currently, Uber operates in over 250 cities around the globe, with the U.S. being its largest market.