11 August 2020

Uber UK Buys Taxi Tech Firm Autocab

Uber UK has made the recent announcement (Thursday August 5th) that they will be buying Stockport-based taxi technology firm Autocab. Such a move will allow the Silicon Valley firm to reach customers in areas where Uber does not currently operate.

About Autocab

Autocab initially started out as a company that supplied radios, amongst other equipment, to taxi firms across the UK. As time passed, they then began to develop and operate an Uber-like application named Ghost. Ghost is a cloud-based application sold on to small taxi firms to allow them to offer online booking systems.

Autocab also went on to create the iGo network. The network is now the UK’s largest network of taxi and private hire operators.

The Deal

Under this deal, Uber will be available to anybody who opens the app in locations where it does not operate. The app will now link them to other providers in the area.

“Autocab has worked successfully with taxi and private hire operators around the world for more than thirty years and Uber has a lot to learn from their experience,” said Uber’s Northern and Eastern European boss Jamie Heywood.

“We look forward to working with the Autocab team to help local operators grow and provide drivers with genuine earning opportunities.”

“Every month, thousands of people open the Uber app in places the company doesn’t operate to try to get a trip,” added the company in a statement. “Through Autocab’s iGo marketplace, Uber will be able to connect these riders with local operators who choose to take their booking,” it continued. “In turn, operators should be able to expand their operations and offer more earnings opportunities to local drivers, as well as plugging in local taxi firms to Uber’s broader platforms, like Delivery and Eats.”

Autocab chief executive Safa Alkatab said: “Autocab has been working with local operators across the world to provide technology to make them more efficient and open up a marketplace to provide more trips.”

“Working with Uber, we can scale up our ambitions, providing hundreds of thousands of additional trips for our customers, and help cement the place of licensed operators in their local community.”

Uber has stated that Autocab will remain independent once the acquisition is complete, as well as maintaining its own board.

Where Uber remains unavailable in the UK

Uber is one of the most well-known ride hailing services across the world. However, the app is still unavailable in numerous areas across the country.

Across England, Uber remains unavailable in cities and towns such as Oxford, Exeter and Doncaster. The company is also currently fighting to remain operating in London, with previous licence losses in Brighton and York.

In Wales, the company does not operate in Swansea, as well as several sites in North Wales such as Llandudno.

Meanwhile in Scotland, the service is mostly available in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Uber does not operate in other large urban areas, such as Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness.

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