Uber to connect passengers with local drivers in areas it does not serve

Uber users who open the app in UK towns and cities it does not serve will be connected with local private hire and taxi drivers, the firm has announced.

The service will be possible due to the company’s agreement to acquire tech firm Autocab, which provides operators with software to run their business.

Users will still pay for their journey through the app.

Uber said hundreds of thousands of people open the app each month in places where they cannot request a ride.

These locations include Oxford (an average of 67,000 app opens per month), Doncaster (24,000), Swansea (18,000) and Aberdeen (17,000).

Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe, said: “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.

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

Autocab chief executive Safa Alkatab said: “Autocab has been working with local operators across the world to provide the 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 said Autocab will “remain independent” following the acquisition and will maintain its own board.