Uber – Autocab has agreed to buy its biggest UK rival Autocab. Autocab, operates a ride-booking app for independent taxi companies throughout the country.
It said the takeover would let it connect people with mini-cab firms. This is in cities where Uber itself does not have drivers.
Autocab’s platform has access to more than 75,000 vehicles in areas where Uber does not operate.
Uber is currently available in 40 towns and cities in the UK.
Autocab started out as a radio supply business. It later developed a cloud-based booking platform called iGo. This platform let independent taxi firms offer online bookings.
The platform is currently used by about half of the private hire and taxi market in the UK.
Following the deal, Uber expects to be available in about 170 towns and cities. That includes Oxford and Doncaster. Uber says “tens of thousands” of people try to use its app every month. Passengers using the Uber app in a UK town will be able to book a private taxi too.
“Uber will be able to connect these riders with local operators. The local operators need to choose to take their booking,” the company said in a blog post.
“In turn, operators should be able to expand their operations. They should be able to offer more earnings opportunities to local drivers.”
Uber said Autocab would “remain independent” following the acquisition. It will maintain its own board of directors.
The companies have not revealed the financial terms of the deal. They have not explained how they will make money from it.
It has been a difficult year for everyone. This year has revealed in April that journeys booked through its app had fallen 80%. This is due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It announced in May that it would be cutting more than a third of its workforce. Though this did not include drivers as the company considers them independent contractors.