SAN FRANCISCO: Ride-hailing app Uber said on Monday it was joining a global public transport association to improve mobility in the cities it operates in.
Uber also said it was joining the International Association of Public Transportation (UITP) to connect more people to public transport.
Andrew Salzberg, Uber’s head of transportation policy and research, said aligning the company with public transport authorities was a good way to make Uber a better partner for cities.
UITP represents public transport providers around the world, including Transport for London (TfL) – which in September stripped Uber of its operating licence.
Scandal-hit Uber has just had to reassure authorities it is tackling the way it does business after the disclosure of a massive data breach cover-up that has prompted investigations from regulators around the world.
Uber, currently valued at $69 billion, has been testing a more collaborative approach to regulators under its new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in a shift away from a more aggressive culture under former CEO Travis Kalanick.
“One of the big emphases that Dara has made … is that we want to be better partners for the cities we operate in,” Salzberg said, acknowledging that Monday’s announcement was part of the company’s effort to improve relationships with local authorities.
Uber said it would work on a series of training sessions with UITP starting with the so-called first and last mile issue of public transport to connect people better at the start or end of their journeys.
Salzberg said the company also wanted to help to reduce congestion on roads by encouraging people to move to shared modes of transport.
Alain Flausch, Secretary General of UITP, said Uber joining the association was a sign that the company wanted to have a better relationship with regulators.
“They are kind of saying to every politician: ‘We are joining the community and we want to help in the new ecosystem’,” Flausch said.
Flausch said he had told members of UITP that he would check the company stuck to its promises.
“It’s a work in progress and having Uber join is a good sign. Of course, they keep their business model but … they need to be a bit more flexible and open to talking.”