Uber's chief executive has admitted that the ride-sharing company failed to support its drivers, favouring instead to invest in growing the business globally.
"We focused too much on growth but not enough on drivers," he said during a press conference.
The app, which refers to the drivers it relies on to offer its service as "partners", has been criticised for treating them unfairly and refusing to offer basic employment rights.
But Dara Khosrowshahi today said he hoped a brand new app for drivers would prove the San Francisco giant was committed to meeting their needs "at every moment of their journey".
This includes improved ways for drivers to see how much money they are making through trips and how close they are to the goal they have set, as well as an improved profile section.
Dara Khosrowshahi pictured during his time as Expedia chief executive before taking over from Travis Kalanick, who founded Uber.
The announcement followed a crushing defeat for Uber's in the European Courts of Justice, which on Tuesday morning upheld France's ban of the app, claiming that it was a criminal offence for the company to operate there.
The decision will likely have ramifications across the EU for the under-fire ride-hailing company and set a precedent across the bloc as the EU’s top court said member states could use criminal law to “prohibit and punish” illegal transport activities without telling the European Commission first.
Uber France argued that it should be classified as an “information society service” rather than a taxi company, which judges rejected.
The brand new Uber app for drivers Credit: Uber
Such services qualify for EU protection designed to boost innovation, which require national governments to notify the commission before taking action against tech companies. The law was written before Brussels’ attitude towards US tech giants hardened over data protection and concerns over how little tax the companies pay.
The French government banned the UberPop service because it broke a 2014 law prohibiting taxi platforms from using unlicensed drivers carrying fewer than 10 passengers. Uber’s lawyers argued the failure to notify the commission should cancel the French ban and appealed the decision.
French judges referred the mater to the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice, which said Uber did not qualify as an information society service.
In December 2017, EU judges said that Uber was a transport company and not an information platform in a similar case involving Uber Spain.
A Uber spokeswoman said: "This case is about whether a French law from 2014 should have been pre-notified to the European Commission and related to peer-to-peer services, which we stopped in 2015. As our new CEO has said, it is appropriate to regulate services such as Uber and so we will continue the dialogue with cities across Europe.”
"HMRC has been waiting to see which way the ECJ went on this test case to determine whether it should also consider Uber as a VAT supplier of transport services. The likely VAT liability for Uber in the UK could be over £40 million in back taxes, and a 20% VAT rise in rides going forward. Action by HMRC is now highly likely," said Richard Asquith, global indirect tax expert at Avalara.
Damien Geradin, a partner at Brussels law firm Euclid Law, said the decision was a missed opportunity. "The pre-notification procedure aims to protect players active in the digital sector against discriminatory or disproportionate rules," he said.
Tuesday’s ruling is the latest setback for the controversial US company, which is appealing Transport for London’s decision to strip it of its operating licence.
The capital’s transport authority plans to introduce regulations limiting the hours ride-hailing app employees can drive.
Uber has been controversial in other EU countries, such as Belgium, where the UberPop service is banned but protests against the firm continue. The company now only works with professional drivers in a majority of EU countries.
In March, the company reached a settlement with the family of a woman killed by an Uber Technologies self-driving vehicle in Arizona.
Despite the controversies, the service remains popular.
TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT
The decline and fall of the Taxi trade trade continues.
The following figures are for week ending 08-04-18
Private hire driver licences
113,596 down 49
117 are new
Private hire vehicle licences
87,702 down 219
332 are new
Taxi driver licences
0 are new
Taxi vehicle licences
9 are new.
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