Updated: Apr 3
Ride-hailing firm Uber are looking to make available ALL licensed taxis on its platform by 2025 and have set their sights on French cabbies as their latest target… but what about the UK?
After its surprising move to partner with New York City's famous yellow taxi industry earlier this year, the ride-hailing firm are now focusing on existing taxi markets around the world to help solve coverage and availability issues.
It is no secret that 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 was hoped to boost car availability by 12,000 in New York City.
Ride-hailing and delivery firm Uber announced in May a $5.9billion (£4.7billion) loss, mainly due to stakes held in other companies around the world.
The transport and logistics firm highlighted that nearly all of the losses recorded were as a result of the diminishing value of investments which included China's DiDi and Asia's Grab.
Within the financial report for Q2 2022 Uber stated it had reached an agreement to list New York City and San Francisco taxis on the Uber app through partnerships with CMT, Curb, Yellow Cab SF, and Flywheel Technologies. Interestingly it was revealed that Uber plan to bring EVERY taxi on to Uber by 2025 as part of its long-term vision.
In the latest report (Q3) out yesterday, Uber also listed entry into new taxi markets including Paris, France; the Ota Ward of Tokyo and Okinawa, Japan; Brussels, Belgium; and Mendoza, Argentina.
Uber have already managed to include taxis in Spain, Germany, Austria, Turkey, South Korea, Hong Kong and Colombia. According to sources, around thirty-five percent of people taking a taxi on the Uber platform go on to use another of its mobility products, the company said in February.
According to Reuters, Andrew Macdonald, Uber's senior vice president of mobility, said: "When we look at the next five years, we just don't see a world in which taxis and Uber exist separately. There's too much to gain for both sides."
How will the UK taxi market react when it's their turn to be recruited? What was the reaction from UK taxi drivers?
It may be a tough sell in the UK. 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. Last week, eight more operators spread across the width of England, joined the platform. Since the company first piloted Local Cab last year, the product has launched in over 60 locations across the UK.
Hackney Carriage licensed taxi drivers are likely to be a different prospect though. In cities such as London, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh, taxi drivers strongly attribute a demise in their livelihoods with the emergence of Uber, which has been supported by the ‘Uber Files’ expose.
Fast forward to present day and the licensed taxi industry has seen a renaissance despite the uncertain economic climate. Even established black cab apps are struggling to recruit drivers to fulfil their demand for journeys due to high on-street demand.
Taxi drivers on TaxiPoint were asked whether they would ever consider joining Uber’s platform if offered the chance. The response was an overwhelming no, but there was some way in if the money offered was right.
Richard Standley said: “Join in a race to the bottom? Not likely.”
Jon Robinson said: “No chance, but some on here will.”
Taxi driver, Mark Teasdale, said: “If they pay me £1,000 a week for 20 hrs work I will.”
Newcastle’s Andy Smith said: “If they pay me £50 an hour every hour for 50 hours a week… aye.”
One driver in London was open to the idea though. Posting as Guido Acasa, they said: “Depends on their offer and the state of the market. Why would I not want myself put in front of another million users?”