Uber resumes new direct launches with services in Swansea and Stockton

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Uber has restarted launches in UK towns and cities following the collapse of the Local Car scheme late last year.

The ride-hailing giant has announced plans to launch in Swansea, south Wales, and Stockton, north-east England. Uber said there was high demand for the service. In Stockton more than 4,500 local residents were opening the Uber app every week, while the numbers in Swansea were similar at around 4,000.

Uber stopped launches into new towns and cities in 2017. Instead, it developed the Local Car scheme following its purchase of dispatch systems provider Autocab in 2020. Uber stopped direct launches in the UK in 2017, and even suggested that it might in future transition to a full platform, without operating its own cars, other than in very major cities such as London.

But after a roll-out in more than 100 towns, involving more than 70 UK private hire and taxi operators, Uber pulled the plug on Local Cab last December.

As expected, Uber has now returned to its original plan of launching its own services in towns and cities where demand justifies a full-scale operation. Before 2017, Uber had launched in 17 UK locations, mainly large cities. It is likely that Uber will concentrate entirely on large urban areas and abandon plans to build a national app that works everywhere – which was the objective of Local Cab.

To promote the new launches, Uber has offered discounted rides, including up to £20 off customers’ next two rides for the first few weeks of operation.

Andrew Brem, general manager of Uber UK, said: “We are extremely proud to launch Uber in Stockton where we have been seeing increased demand for our services. By bringing Uber to the town we want to help maximise earnings opportunities for drivers, boost transport options for passengers, and support the local economy.”