Uber launches in York – will it change city transport forever?

9 Sep 2016 @ 12.42 pm
| News, Transport

Uber will launch in York on Friday (September 9).

The ride-hailing company, which allows users to order a car via a smartphone app, is to bring its UberX service in York at 4pm.

It already operates in more than 20 cities and towns across Britain, including Leeds and Sheffield.

Once you’ve downloaded the Uber app, customers can book a licensed private hire driver at the touch of a button.

A Uber spokesperson said: “Whether going to work or out with friends, UberX provides an easy way to travel safely and at a low cost, complementing York’s existing transportation options.”

They said a journey from York St John University’s Fountains Learning Centre on Lord Mayor’s Walk to Fossgate would cost between £4 and £5. York Station to the Racecourse would cost around £5 to £6.

Neil McGonigle, Uber’s general manager for York, said:

We’re incredibly excited to be launching in York today. Tens of thousands of people have already opened the app in the city and we’re looking forward to helping people get a safe and affordable ride at the touch of a button.This launch also means that locally licensed private-hire drivers can now apply to use the Uber app and become their own boss – choosing when and where they want to work.

How it works

A screenshot of the app
A screenshot of the app

Uber is cashless. Users can book and pay for a licensed private hire car directly to their registered debit or credit card.

You have to download the app, create an account and request a car.

Once requested, the rider can see the driver’s photo, name and car registration number and can watch the car arrive in real-time on a map.

The app notifies the rider when the vehicle arrives.

Uber says driver and passenger safety is a priority: all its UK drivers are licensed for private hire and York drivers will have a City of York Council licence. This includes an enhanced disclosure and barring service (DBS) check – the same checks as black cab drivers and care workers.

UberX is the company’s basic, low-cost option. When it was introduced to London in 2014 thousands of black cab drivers blocked the capital’s roads in protest.

The company has also faced lawsuits in various parts of the world by companies and governments who considered it to be unfair competition.

It is currently embroiled in a legal challenge from its UK drivers who say they should be officially recognised as workers at the company rather than as self employed.