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Uber Wants to Create 50,000 Jobs, Take 400,000 Cars Off the Road in Europe This Year

CEO Travis Kalanick said the company can do so if European cities are willing to partner with the ride-hailing company on new, more progressive rules.

Asa Mathat

Uber chief Travis Kalanick said he wants to expand operations in Europe and, in the process, create 50,000 jobs and take 400,000 personal vehicles off the road.

Kalanick said the ride-sharing service isn’t opposed to regulation, but wants “progressive regulation” that promotes safe and affordable rides and generates tax revenue without limiting competition. Cities around the globe have been going after Uber and other services, using a mix of existing regulations and new laws.

“We want to make 2015 the year where we establish a new partnership with (European Union) cities,” Kalanick said, speaking Sunday at the DLD Conference in Munich.

Uber is coming under increased scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators around the globe. The company was hit with a cease and desist in Madrid, Spain; a shutdown order in Bangkok, Thailand; a ban on unlicensed taxi drivers in Beijing, China; and a ban in Delhi, India, where an Uber driver was arrested and charged with rape, kidnapping and intimidation of a 25-year-old passenger. Just last week South Carolina issued a cease and desist order, ordering the company to halt operations.

Antiquated laws around the globe are preventing safe, affordable rides, Kalanick said, highlighting a few particularly egregious statutes, such as one in South Korea that allows foreigners only to take a chauffeured car.

“If you are a Korean, it is illegal for you to have a nice ride that you paid a fair price for.”

Instead, Kalanick argued in favor of more modern regulations that still promote safety, competition and tax revenue.

Kalanick shared some new stats, noting that 1.6 million people have taken an Uber in its four and a half years of operation, creating the equivalent of 7,500 full-time jobs. In New York, the company has served 1.9 million riders in three years and created the equivalent of 13,750 jobs. In London, there have been more than 900,000 riders and the creation of the equivalent of 7,800 jobs.

Kalanick said that the company can now meet with cities and promise to create the equivalent of 10,000 jobs in four years.

“We’re starting to hit that inflection point,” he said.

Kalanick began his talk, sharing the story of how Uber was born. The idea for the service, he said, came after he and Uber’s other co-founder had trouble getting a taxi in Paris. When they got back to San Francisco they realized they had the same problem and built Uber as a side project for the two of them and a hundred of their friends.

“It wasn’t meant to be a big business,” he said. “It just turned out that everybody in our city wanted it.”

Kalanick said Uber would eventually prove to be cheaper than owning and driving a car, once the service can can achieve more efficiency with features such as with UberPool, which lets riders share when going the same direction. At the same time, he said, drivers can continue to earn $25 or more per hour.

“This car replacement story is not just a vision or a dream,” Kalanick said. its something that is actually taking place today.”

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