Uber is coming to Leicester
The controversial taxi app Uber is said to be preparing to launch in Leicester.
Leicester city council have confirmed that they have granted permission to Uber to operate within the city, and it is understood that Uber are currently in the process of recruiting drivers for their service.
There are also rumours that Uber are preparing to base their Leicester operation at an office near the train station on London Road.
The Uber app allows customers to order and pay for taxis using just their smartphone, and is currently operating in other UK cities like London, Manchester and Nottingham.
The relative ease of hailing an Uber cab, along with the cheap prices, has made the service unpopular with more traditional taxi drivers – and the launch of Uber in Leicester is bound to cause further problems with taxi drivers, who staged a demonstration in the city last week about the introduction of penalty points.
Umar Khan, who leads the Leicester branch of the RMT Union which represents taxi drivers, told the Mercury today that the introduction of Uber to Leicester is ‘a concern’. He said:
This will affect all drivers in the city but we think the public will always want to use the hackney carriages so it will have a bigger impact on the private hire trade.
Uber will be cheaper but you might end up getting drivers from Birmingham being sent here driving people around without any local knowledge.
David Hunter, a spokesman for Leicester private hire cab firm ADT Taxis said:
We have, over the last two years, been preparing for the day when Uber reaches Leicester, and have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds developing our own GPS App. We believe it is better than Uber’s. We also offer fixed prices, and customers are able to hail taxis, pre book, track the taxis, and also pay by card or cash. We also have some one at the end of the telephone with knowledge of the local area, whom is there to help.
A spokesman for Uber said:
We look forward to offering a safe, reliable and affordable choice for people in Leicester.
Uber has been licensed as an operator by more than 30 city councils across the UK and we are excited about being able to connect riders with licensed, private-hire drivers at the touch of a button.