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Uber battles in London court to escape ban from operating in the city

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By Adam Satariano

Dara Khosrowshahi’s 10-month tenure as Uber’s chief executive has been marked by a prolonged public relations campaign to apologize for the company’s past misdeeds and portray the once proudly combative start-up as a reformed corporate citizen.

Starting Monday, a judge in London will test the success of his strategy.

Uber this week begins an appeal to reverse a decision by the British capital’s regulators to revoke its operating license. If it cannot make its case, that ruling could ultimately ban Uber cars from the city of 8.8 million, one of the company’s most lucrative markets. Uber will argue that new policies installed under Mr. Khosrowshahi show a newfound willingness to address government concerns.

The case before Westminster Magistrates’ Court has ramifications far beyond London, and, given changes the city has already wrung from Uber, it could embolden others grappling with how to regulate ride-sharing services. The ruling will offer a hint as to whether governments and regulators are becoming more receptive to Mr. Khosrowshahi’s conciliatory efforts as he seeks to move past the brusque manner associated with his predecessor, Travis Kalanick.

“The trial is one of the first big tests of Khosrowshahi’s leadership of the company and new approach,” said André Spicer, a professor at the Cass Business School at City, University of London, who has been tracking the case. “The judgment will show whether authorities are willing to accept Uber with some of the harder edges knocked off, or whether there are more fundamental questions about the Uber model.”

The New York Times

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