Uber co-founder and Chief Executive Travis Kalanick appears to be trying a new tactic: playing nice.
At the DLD innovation conference in Germany on Sunday, Kalanick said that Uber wants "to make 2015 the year where we establish a new partnership with [European Union] cities.”
This follows a year in which Kalanick and his company barreled ahead in the face of taxi industry protests and bans or threats of bans in such countries as Spain, Germany and France.
A mild-toned Kalanick said he’s not against regulation, but favors what he called “progressive” regulation that focuses on safety, variety and affordability without limiting competition.
Uber’s critics, including the taxicab industry, cite lapses in safety and security along with inconsistent promises about pay to drivers as why the San Francisco-based start-up shouldn't be trusted.
Kalanick said Uber could create 50,000 jobs in Europe while pulling 400,000 cars off the road by the end of the year as it expands its car-pooling service, UberPool. Similar to a bus service, UberPool carries passengers traveling similar routes in a single car. Because that drives down the cost to each user, Kalanick said he hopes that many will find it more affordable than owning a car.
Uber is gaining traction in countries such as the Netherlands, Sweden and Belgium, Kalanick said.
Chat with me on Twitter @peard33