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Areas of unmet demand pushes Uber to gain several new UK local authority operator licences

Uber is set to expand its operations in the UK, driven by a fresh surge in demand and the green light from several licensing authorities. 

The latest approval from Hull City Council marks a significant step, allowing the global ride-hailing service to deploy around 250 drivers and vehicles in the area. This move is part of a broader strategy that has seen Uber securing operating licences in Swansea and Stockton on Tees, and further plans to venture into Aberdeen, a new territory for the company.

The expansion reflects Uber's robust growth in the UK, where driver numbers have soared by over 70% since 2021, reaching a milestone of over 100,000. An Uber spokesperson expressed enthusiasm about the Hull licence, highlighting the benefits for drivers and passengers alike, including increased earning opportunities and enhanced transport options.

An Uber spokesperson said: “We are pleased to have been granted a licence to operate in Hull, which will help boost earning opportunities for drivers, provide passengers with greater transport options across the city and support the local economy.”

Hull City Council's Licensing Committee chair, Councillor Mark Bisbey, emphasised the strict safety measures accompanying the licence. He pointed out the pressing need for more taxis in Hull, where demand consistently exceeds supply, underlining the council's commitment to addressing this issue.

However, the expansion has stirred some discontent, particularly in cities like Hull and Stockton on Tees, where Uber's 'Local Cab' service was previously offered. This service, discontinued in December 2023, allowed users to book rides with local private hire operators via Uber's app. Its withdrawal has reportedly left an unmet demand for ride-hailing services.

Uber's recent licensing successes in the UK signal a strategic pivot, especially after Uber ended its partnership with Autocab's iGo network last year.


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