The chief executive of the online taxi-sharing firm Uber has said that the company could create up to 50,000 jobs across Europe as it aims to make 2015 a year of massive expansion.
Travis Kalanick was speaking at a conference in Munich, Germany when he said that Uber wished to create a “new partnership” with major European cities as it bids to builds bridges after what has been a rather controversial year for the company.
In 2014 Uber received a wave of criticism from various sources as it expanded rapidly across the globe and challenged established taxi firms with the growth of its app based services which allow users summon taxi-like services on their smartphones. In cities, such as London, it has seen protests from taxi drivers as it doesn’t come under the same regulations as established taxi firms and it has been accused of flouting competition rules and of not carrying out sufficient safety checks on drivers and their vehicles.
In Belgium, France, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands, the company has been hit by court injunctions and so this latest move will be seen by many as an attempt to ingratiate themselves further with European authorities. Previously the company has been seen as being too combative with authorities after consistently complaining about red tape and regulations but Mr Kalanick tried to paint a more cooperative picture in his address when he said:
“Uber is committed to establishing new partnerships with Europe’s cities to ensure innovation, harness powerful economic benefits and promote core city functions. At the end of 2015, if we can make these partnerships happen, we create 50,000 new EU jobs, Uber wants to partner closely with tax authorities to increase transportation providers’ compliance and overall tax revenue for cities and countries across Europe.”
The San Francisco based start-up has been valued at $40 billion (£25.5 billion) and its growth in Europe could see it add further to that valuation as well as creating vital jobs in a somewhat stuttering Eurozone that is struggling with an economic slowdown and an injection of money is always welcome. However, safety concerns are likely to be the biggest issue to prevent the companies of expansion with news of a woman in India who was allegedly raped by an Uber taxi driver suing the company in the US courts.
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