The ride-hailing app hopes to prove its fitness to operate by becoming a ‘better partner’
Uber is to share data from journeys made in London, as it bids to be what it terms a “better partner” and reclaim its licence to operate in the capital.
The ride-hailing service said information arising from aggregating millions of journeys would help London planners in their work.
London becomes the first British city among 10 worldwide featured in Uber Movement, an online tool which compares journey times for different periods, potentially showing how variables such as road closures or major events impact traffic.
Fred Jones, head of UK cities at Uber, said: “For example, our data shows the impact on travel times of moves like the closure of Tower Bridge in 2016 which could be useful when similar projects are planned.”
He added: “Under Uber’s new leadership we want to be a better partner to city planners and regulators, so we hope this data will help give them valuable insights for the future.”
Uber plans to add Manchester and Birmingham to the tool, Jones said.
Transport for London last month suggested it was considering forcing private hire operators to share data as part of new licensing regulations, after seeing a drop in passengers on the tube. A TfL spokesperson said: “We welcome any move that has the potential to provide a greater insight into how people move around London.”
David Leam, of London First, said: “London businesses will welcome this initiative as a sign that Uber is committed to working in closer collaboration with city and transport planners to keep London moving.”
Uber has launched a series of changes to its working practices to demonstrate a changed culture to London’s transport authorities, who deemed it an unfit company when refusing to renew its operating licence in September.
This week, changes came into force on its app to ensure only London-licensed drivers were picking up passengers in the capital. It has also introduced driver hours limits, a 24-hour phone line, and pledged to proactively report serious incidents to police.
Its legal appeal against the licensing decision will be heard in June.
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Steven Dean is a designer, educator and entrepreneur focused on consumer health and wellness innovation. At his design consultancy, G51 Studio, he is involved in a broad range of projects that span business strategy, interaction and experience design, service design, and brand experience. He has designed and developed integrated user experiences for health and wellness platforms including mobile devices, networked applications and websites.
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