Uber on charm offensive in 50,000 job pledge


Uber will create 50,000 jobs in Europe this year if regulators work with it, the taxi hailing app's boss said on Sunday, striking a conciliatory tone in a market where it has faced fierce opposition.

In a speech at the tech-focussed DLD15 Conference in Munich, Uber founder and CEO Travis Kalanick said the company's plans would see 400,000 cars being taken off the roads in the European Union (EU).

"We want to make 2015 the year where we establish a new partnership with EU cities, where we push for progressive regulation that ensure innovation and help build the smart cities of tomorrow," Kalanick said.

DLD Conference

"It means if we can make these partnerships happen, we create 50,000 new EU jobs…we want to take 400,000 cars off EU roads in 2015."

The comments suggest Uber is on the charm offensive in Europe after traditional cab drivers staged large-scale protests against the U.S. taxi app, which is now valued at $40 billion. Taxi drivers in France protested in December after large demonstrations by U.K. and German drivers earlier in the year. Both France and Spain have banned its UberPop service, which allows drivers without a taxi license to register with Uber and offer trips in their own cars at a cheaper rate.

Taxi laws 'protect' industry

Kalanick slammed existing taxi laws, suggesting they were halting innovation and being used so the industry could "protect itself."

Uber signed a deal with the City of Boston last week which will see it share data which the city can use for urban planning.

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Kalanick said it was hoping to strike similar partnerships with European governments -- a move he claimed would also help the region's economy.

Uber remains a big disruptor in 2015

Uber came under heavy criticism last year after allegations that one of its drivers had raped a female passenger in New Delhi. The company was also slammed after Emil Michael, Uber's senior vice president of business, was quoted suggesting that the company look into the personal lives of journalists critical of the company.

But Kalanick defended Uber's record saying it is taking the right steps to ensure customer safety.

"It's not just about making sure that we're the safest way to get around. It's about being part of an effort to make cities more safer period," he said.

"There are a lot of things we do...Its background checks. Making sure we get customer feedback - and taking that feedback and acting on it very quickly."

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