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London's transport authority rejects claims it is working specifically with Uber

Key Points
  • London’s transport authority denied it is “deepening” its relationship with Uber in a partnership that could offer customers access to public transport services through the ride-hailing company’s app, a spokesperson told CNBC on Tuesday.
  • The Financial Times reported earlier Tuesday Uber is looking to offer London bus and Tube timetables in its app, and ultimately accept payments on behalf of London's Transport Authority (TfL).
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London's transport authority has rejected claims it is "deepening" its relationship with Uber in a partnership that could offer customers access to public transport services through the ride-hailing company's app.

The denial came in response to a Financial Times report that Uber is seeking to partner with Transport for London (TfL) to incorporate London Tube and bus timetables. Citing un-named people familiar with the matter, the FT said Uber has spoken with Transport for London about "deepening" their relationship.

However a TfL spokesperson told CNBC that TfL is not specifically working with Uber to integrate those services into the company's platform but Uber is "more than welcome" to use TfL's data.

"TfL makes it data publicly available for developers and companies, which could include Uber, to use, however it is incorrect to describe this as a 'deepening relationship,'" the spokesperson said by email.

The FT said earlier Uber's long-term ambitions include accepting payments on behalf of TfL and building a journey planner that would integrate public transportation data, including live updates, into the Uber app.

Uber has not responded to CNBC's request for comment.

Uber's attempt to include public transportation data into its app would heighten competition with CityMapper, a London-based app that includes bus, rail and driving directions and schedules. CityMapper also recently launched scooter, cycling and moped transportation options on its platform. The company is backed by venture capital firms including Index Ventures and Benchmark Capital.

A potential partnership between Uber and TfL would mark a positive shift in the ride-hailing company's tumultuous relationship with London's transport authority. TfL revoked Uber's license to operate in the city in 2017 citing safety concerns. A judge overturned the ban in June, granting Uber a 15-month license with some broad conditions.

Ride-hailing companies like Uber and its smaller competitor Lyft have ambitions to become catch-all apps for transport services beyond ride sharing. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told CNBC in May the company wants to be the "A-to-B platform for transportation."

Both Uber and Lyft are racing to go public next year. Uber reportedly filed confidential paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week for an IPO that could be valued at $120 billion. Lyft also filed a confidential statement for its own IPO last week.

Read the full FT story here.

Uber’s value could hit $120 billion after it goes public