Uber, currently valued at $69 billion, is the world’s highest-valued private company. However, over the last two years, the company has been swamped in legal and operational trouble. Because of this, the company is working on a more collaborative approach to regulators under its new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
On Monday, Uber announced it is joining a global public transport association to improve mobility in the cities in which it operates. Uber also said it was joining the International Association of Public Transportation (UITP) to connect more people to public transport. UITP represents public transport providers around the world, including Transport for London which in September stripped Uber of its operating license.
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. “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.
Salzberg said the company also wanted to help to reduce congestion on roads by encouraging people to use 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 told Reuters. “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.”
Flausch said he had told members of UITP that he would make sure the company stuck to its promises.
Uber said it would be attending a series of training sessions with UITP, starting with the so-called first and last mile issue of public transport to better connect people at the start or end of their journeys.