Uber revs up UK expansion with takeover of Autocab
UBER has struck an agreement to buy Autocab in a deal that will allow more people in the UK to use the app.
Autocab, based in Stockport, provides private hire and taxi operators with technology to run their business, including booking and dispatch software. It also connects them with trips through the iGo marketplace.
By gaining access to iGo, Uber will be able to connect taxi drivers with customers in regions of the country where it currently lacks a service, such as Oxford and Canterbury.
At present, Uber operates in 40 towns and cities across the UK, which gives it access to roughly 60pc of the population.
The deal with Autocab is expected to give additional access to around 130 towns and cities.
The size of the deal has not been disclosed. The tie-up will see Autocab retain its own board.
It comes at a critical time for Uber, which saw its income squeezed by plummeting bookings as a result of strict lockdown measures at the start of the pandemic.
So far this year, Uber has cut 6,700 jobs as it attempts to focus on its core business. It will also shut 45 offices in a cost-cutting measure that could help it save $1bn (£762m) this year. Jamie Heywood, the boss of Uber’s European division, said the deal would help local operators grow and provide drivers with “genuine earning opportunities”.
“Autocab has worked successfully with taxi and private hire operators around the world for more than 30 years and Uber has a lot to learn from their experience,” he said.
Uber said it would work to ensure local operators complied with safety standards that have come into greater focus since the start of the pandemic.
“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,” said Safa Alkateb, chief executive of Autocab.
Uber also recently agreed a $2.65bn deal to buy Postmates in a takeover that should expand its reach in the food delivery sector.