Uber has big plans for the UK, following a short trial in Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Leeds and Birmingham after the huge launch in London. It is launching the service in Bristol and Sheffield this month, with smaller towns Maidenhead, Slough and Windsor receiving support.
The company is hiring taxi drivers in Belfast, Edinburgh and Glasgow for the next expansion. It looks to be putting a lot of money into the UK, hiring a lot more drivers with previous experience in taxi driving an a license to drive commercial vehicles.
Uber drivers in the UK are under similar regulation to normal taxi drivers, although they’re contracted instead of paid a set wage. Uber takes a percentage of each fair from the driver, and they are free to work for however many hours.
Unlike a few European countries, once Uber had settled in the UK latched onto the service quickly. Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick pointed to London as the highest growing city in the world for Uber drivers and customers, with more growth than San Francisco and New York in 2014.
The UK economy is a good enough reason to bank on the country, but startups are seeing a lot of love from The Conservative government. It gives Uber less to worry about when it starts investing, unless it is put under the Google Tax and forced to pay 25 per cent.
Even though Uber launched in Newcastle, previous experiences with the taxi service show it still needs to branch out further into a region. The town of Gateshead, just outside of Newcastle, has little to no coverage.
Uber is valued at $50 billion (£32 billion), the taxi company has plans to launch a merchant and food delivery service in the UK using the same drivers for taxi pickups, already working on the US and Spain, which could boost the value a few billion more.