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Uber ‘Brash and Aggressive’ in Wake of Ban, London Mayor Says

Nate Lanxon and Guy Johnson

(Bloomberg) -- London Mayor Sadiq Khan isn’t impressed with comments made by Uber Technologies Inc. in the wake of its recent ban in the city.

Khan said the company had been “brash” and “aggressive” compared with how it reacted to its 2017 license revocation by regulator Transport for London.

“The point I’d make to Uber is that they said the same thing two years ago but then went to the courts, put their hands up, and said ‘Transport for London was right, and we’ve made these improvements,’” Khan said in an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday.

“Two weeks ago when TfL turned them down, they were quite brash, quite aggressive,” he added. “We’ll see when they go to the courts whether they change their tone.”

In November, London’s transportation regulator, TfL, refused to give Uber a new license to operate in the city. It said the company had failed to adequately verify drivers’ identities and safeguard the service for passenger. Uber said it planned to appeal the decision, and Jamie Heywood, head of the company’s U.K. business, said a flaw in its app enabling the rogue trips had been fixed.

In 2017, when TfL first denied the company a new license, Uber Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi immediately began a charm offensive, flying out to the capital to meet with city regulators and personally negotiate a deal. He said at the time he wanted to “make things right.”

Last week he was more blunt, calling the decision “just wrong” on his Twitter page shortly after it was made public. In a statement, Uber said “we have fundamentally changed our business over the last two years and are setting the standard on safety.”

Asked if he’d spoken to Khosrowshahi since November’s ban, Khan said he hadn’t, but that “it’s not me he needs the conversation with, it’s with the regulator.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Nate Lanxon in London at nlanxon@bloomberg.net;Guy Johnson in London at gjohnson87@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Giles Turner at gturner35@bloomberg.net

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