Uber targets Aberdeen and Dundee as part of UK expansion drive

Pd Website News Uber Matthew Freckelton

Uber has re-applied for a license to operate in Aberdeen, having previously surrendered its license in the city in 2018.

Matthew Freckelton, Uber’s UK Head of Cities, told the Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce that he hoped Uber would be up and running in the city by August.

He also confirmed that Uber was looking to launch in Dundee as it revives its plans to launch in new cities following the collapse of the Local Cab scheme last year. The Local Cab service enabled users to book rides with local private hire operators through the Uber app.

Freckelton said: “There’s a licensing committee meeting coming up in June. If we get granted the license in June, from the city launches we’ve done recently, it’s taken about a month or two months before we have gone live. End of August, we’d be looking to go formally live.”

“Places like Aberdeen and Dundee are our focuses in Scotland,” he added. Uber already operates in Glasgow and Edinburgh. The Aberdeen move follows recent launches in Swansea, Stockton-on-Tees and Hull.

However, the expansion plans have not been universally welcomed throughout the taxi and private hire industry. Qaiser Habib, president of the Dundee City Taxi Drivers Association, said: “Dundee is a small city and we actually have more taxis than needed in the taxi ranks. There are more than enough taxis in Dundee. There can often be 30-40 in one particular area and we are usually with our customers within minutes.”

Aberdeen, like many UK cities, has struggled to attract private hire drivers. Numbers fell from pre-pandemic levels of 849 in 2020 to 605 at the end of 2022.

Freckelton said Uber was happy for drivers to keep working for local firms while also doing Uber work. He said: “When we go live we will be taking from the existing pool of drivers and we think drivers will want to come work for us. Meetings will be arranged with those drivers and we’ll go through the onboarding process.”

He said Uber was targeting around 40 to 50 drivers from the existing pool of licensed drivers in the launch phase. “We fully support drivers being able to work for multiple operators in a city.”