Uber says it's changed and is now ever-so ShinyHappy™

CEO Dara Khosrowshahi launches light-on-detail charm offensive

Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has emerged at the head of a charm offensive that promises the infamously belligerent ride share company is “moving forward”.

There’s a micro-site full of ShinyHappy™ explaining it all. The short version is that Uber wants to be nice to drivers, riders, city authorities and any other imaginable stakeholder so they can all ride Ubers to meadows filled with flowers and live in harmony forever.

Khosrowshahi seems pretty sincere in a video that sees him say that since joining Uber “ My priority has been to listen to you.”

“I’ve seen a lot of good, but moving forward it is time to move in a new direction. This begins with new leadership and new culture.”

He even says “One of our values as a company is to always do the right thing.”

Ahem! Uber, Lyft etc: California Supremes just shook your gig economy with contractor ruling


The video and site would be more believable if they were more specific. But the micro-site is short on details and mentions many initiatives that are works in progress. Among those forthcoming features are access to emergency services from within Uber’s app, complete with a report of your location in case your ride goes off the rails, and an unexplained feature to make it easier to find Uber drivers.

Uber’s app will also allow users to nominate five “Trusted Contacts” who will be able to track their rides.

Stuff the company’s already done includes moving to annual checks of drivers’ criminal records and better feedback mechanisms from the app.

Other initiatives the micro-site says are signs of the New Uber sound like business as usual: a new driver app is the kind of thing a company like Uber’s gotta do, whether or not it turns out to be a wretched hive of sexism, scum and villainy.

There’s also a pledge to invest in communities and support volunteer groups like Meals on Wheels and Mothers Against Drink Driving.

Such stuff is always welcome, but also pretty much box-ticking for large organisations. And for what it’s worth, the micro-site makes no mention of giving up on belligerent market entries that see Uber just ignore local regulations until it has critical mass, hiding data breaches from authorities, lax data security, stealing Google IP or being revolting to female employees. ®

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