Taxi app Uber has caused plenty of controversy, being banned in parts of Europe. But that won’t stop its growth – it’s promised to create 50,000 jobs in Europe this year alone, The Guardian reports.
It’s a new approach for the company. Whereas before it has clashed head-on with what it regards as outdated regulations, now it’s coming across as more positive. Speaking at a conference in Munich, Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive, said, “We want to make 2015 the year where we establish a new partnership with EU cities.”
There is a caveat to the new jobs, however. They rely on Europe relaxing its legislation that has seen Uber clash with local taxi drivers in Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and the UK, among other European cities.
Most of the jobs created wouldn’t be with Uber, but would be independent contractors, i.e. minicab drivers.
It also suggested that more Uber rides would result in more tax revenue for city governments, as every journey is logged, whereas minicab drivers often work cash in hand. “Uber wants to partner closely with tax authorities to increase transportation providers’ compliance and overall tax revenue for cities and countries across Europe,” Kalanick said.
Worth more than $41 billion, Uber is now the world’s most highly-valued venture-backed start-up. But it has a chequered history. A woman is suing the firm after allegedly being raped by an Uber driver in India. During the recent Sydney siege, the company put its prices up by four times the usual rate. After being slammed by cities, it said this was to attract more drivers to the area to help the victims get away. It subsequently offered free rides to those in the vicinity.