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Surprising global surge in taxi drivers joining Uber platform

Ride-hailing giant Uber is experiencing an unexpected surge of European taxi drivers joining its platform, according to Anabel Diaz, the executive in charge of the company's mobility business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

The claim comes after an interview with Reuters which focused on Uber’s global growth. The growth in traditional taxi journeys on the Uber platform were however seen as a surprise given the history of tension between the two parties.

Despite lingering uncertainty about gig economy labour rules, Diaz said business is strong in Europe, with numbers growing by 10% to more than 50% in some of its geographies.

The company's biggest markets in Europe include the UK, France, Germany and Spain, where it has "very solid business performance with a lot of innovation, including development of our taxi solution in all of those countries", says Diaz.

Ride-hailing firm Uber have made no secret that they are looking to make available ALL licensed taxis on its platform by 2025.

After a surprising move to partner with New York City's famous yellow taxi industry in 2022, the ride-hailing firm are now focusing on existing taxi markets around the world to help solve coverage and availability issues.

Uber, and other private hire operators, have all faced a shortage of drivers since services ramped back up post pandemic lockdowns. The recent addition of yellow cabs onto the platform boosted car availability by 12,000 in New York City.

In its Q3 2022 results, Uber listed entry into new taxi markets including Paris, France; the Ota Ward of Tokyo and Okinawa, Japan; Brussels, Belgium; and Mendoza, Argentina.

Uber had already managed to include taxis in Spain, Germany, Austria, Turkey, South Korea, Hong Kong and Colombia.

However in the UK, and particularly in London, it may be a tough sell. Since their arrival in the UK private hire vehicle (PHV) sector back in June 2012, it has been a rocky relationship with both the taxi industry and existing PHV operators.

Uber have had some success in their ‘Local Cab’ option which has allowed regional PHV operators to appear on the Uber platform.

The licensed taxi industry has seen a renaissance in some regions despite the uncertain economic climate since restrictions were dropped post-pandemic. Even established black cab apps are struggling to recruit drivers to fulfil their demand for journeys due to high on-street demand.


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