Uber manager leaves after company loses London license | News | DW | 02.10.2017
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Uber manager leaves after company loses London license

Jo Bertram, the head of Uber's northern Europe operations, has decided to leave as the ride-sharing company tries to negotiate a new license in London. Uber's chief executive is to meet with Transport for London.

Uber's Northern Europe Manager Jo Bertram will leave the ride sharing company in a few weeks, according to an email obtained by several media outlets.

 "Given some of our current challenges, I'm also convinced that now is the right time to have a change of face and to hand over to someone who will be here for the long haul and take us into the next phase," she said.

"While I would like to have announced my move in smoother circumstances, I'm proud of the team we've built here and am very confident in their abilities to lead the business into the next chapter."

Bertram has taken an undisclosed new position elsewhere, saying she "decided to move onto something new." Uber did not give a precise departure date for Bertram. She will be replaced by Uber's London boss, Tom Elvidge, on an interim basis.

Read more: Uber threatens to pull out of Quebec

Transport for London (TFL), the authority responsible for the transport system in the British capital, decided not to renew Uber's private hire operator license in late September. It said Uber showed "a lack of corporate responsibility" regarding such issues as reporting serious criminal offenses and the process of driver registration.

Uber's London license officially expired on September 30, but its 40,000 London-based drivers are still allowed to operate while the company goes through the appeals process.

Dara Khosrowshahi, the successor to Uber founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick, is to meet with TfL Commissioner Mike Brown on Tuesday. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who is also the chairman of TfL, supported the decision to remove Uber's license, but welcomed Khosrowshahi's apologetic tone and promise of change.

Taxi protests in Prague

Around 1,200 Czech taxis deliberately drove slowly for three hours at Vaclav Havel Airport in Prague to protest against Uber. The protest created a traffic jam on the main access road to the airport and caused major travel delays.

"Today we're not in any hurry," a spokesman for the protesters told the Czech news agency CTK.

Taxi protest against Uber in Prague (picture-alliance/M.Dolezal)

More than 1000 taxis take to the road in Prague to protest against Uber

Cab drivers held similar demonstrations in Britain, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Indonesia, Italy, Poland, Spain and Taiwan. The traditional cab operators have been upset that Uber drivers do not need a proper taxi license or need to use taxi meters.

"Uber drivers don't respect the laws in force," said Petr Polisensky, spokesman for the association of Prague cab drivers, denouncing what he called "inaction on the part of authorities."

Miroslava Jozova, Uber's spokeswoman in the Czech Republic, said the company was "willing to engage in dialogue."

"There's room enough for all kinds of businesses in Prague," she added.

Prague authorities have warned tourists about dishonest cab drivers who often charge inflated fees. Meanwhile, Uber has conducted several ad campaigns in the Czech Capital

Uber says around 2,000 freelance drivers in the Czech Republic and more than 400,000 Czech drivers downloaded the app. Czech authorities have yet to implement any regulations over ride-hailing services, but a possible government initiative is reportedly in the works.

dv/gsw (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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