Germany: Uber has launched an electric bike sharing service in Germany as part of efforts to repair its relationship with European governments.
The controversial ride-hailing app has been prohibited from operating some of its services in Germany, France , Italy, Spain and Belgium, after battles with taxi organisations and protests in several cities.
Scores of German taxi drivers waved banners reading "Uber go home" outside the conference centre where Dara Khosrowshahi, the Uber chief executive, presented the company's Jump scheme in Berlin on Wednesday.
Khosrowshahi said Uber hoped to reset its relationship with German legislators.
"We had a very bad start in Germany," he said, arriving on stage with one of the red bikes. "We're here now in order to try again."
"I want this to signal a deep commitment to Germany ... We want to work with local governments and cities and make our model work," he said.
Uber has been aggressively expanding into Europe since 2014, but clampdowns by courts across Europe have followed angry protests by traditional taxi drivers while many city authorities, including London, have accused the company of increasing congestion in urban areas.
In Germany, Uber is only active in Berlin and Munich.
Jump is due to be rolled out fully in Berlin by the end of the summer and will launch in further European cities over the coming year. It is already operating in San Francisco and Washington.
Khosrowshahi said he believed Uber could help Germany tackle some of its major transport challenges including air pollution, congestion and the search for affordable greener mobility solutions.
He also told the conference the company had been damaged by reports that it had allowed a sexist and chauvinist culture to flourish. "I didn't have to convince the company that the macho culture was wrong, everyone at the company knew it," said Khosrowshahi, who joined Uber last August.
One of the biggest challenges Uber will face in Berlin is finding space for its bikes, after numerous firms from China and the US entered the market in the last year, competing with existing local initiatives. Authorities are struggling to cope with where to place the bikes, many of which clutter pavements or are thrown into rivers and scrubland.
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