The smartphone app-based taxi company have applied for an office in Glasgow and there are plans to expand the business to Edinburgh. Uber, an entirely mobile-based taxi firm, is already established in London, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham after arriving in the United Kingdom following big success in the USA.
Promoting itself as a quick, safe and easy to use taxi hire, the company has been met with great popularity. Customers use the app to state their location, which is then sent to crowd-sourced taxi drivers, before their mobile phone is used to select the destination.
Glasgow Guardian asked Uber if they had any specific dates in mind for when they were officially arriving in Glasgow. They said they were waiting to get the correct Booking Office License from the council, as well as making sure they have a team together who know Glasgow well. As to why they chose Glasgow as their next city to start in, Harry Porter, a member of the Uber firm, said that there was a definite call for the company to be in Glasgow.
He stated: “Our ambition is to operate in every major city in the UK, so of course Glasgow is high on the list. Since the beginning of the year nearly 20,000 people have opened the app in Glasgow, so we know there is a high demand for our award winning service. We also believe we can make it easier to get around the city and give Glasgow residents another transportation option.”
However, in recent months, the business has been mired in controversy. In London, black cab taxi drivers protested the arrival of Uber because of their fare operations. The Uber app bases the fare on distance and time taken, which many current taxi drivers say is unfair for their own taxi fare methods. Several taxi drivers also had concerns about being pushed out by the new modern technology, and believe that Uber is infringing upon their jobs. This controversy has followed them around the globe and nearly every country they have set up in has seen some form of protest from current taxi firms.
Even more seriously, Uber has now been banned in New Delhi after an Uber driver was accused of raping a customer after she booked the car through the app. The driver already had a history of sexual assault allegations, and this sparked an outcry from people calling for higher safety standards within the company.
On the official Uber site, they state that all their drivers go through rigorous safety checks. Uber are keen to assure their customers that safety is of the highest priority. Harry Porter went on to say that their use of technology is what helps keep their customers safe: “The technology also means we have unparalleled safety features. When a rider books an Uber the first thing they see is the name, photo, type and license plate of car, and the rating of their driver… When the trip starts the rider can also share their ETA with a friend or loved one… This ensures our quality level stays high.”