What is Uber and how does it work?

UBER is the commonly used name for the US company Uber Technologies Inc.

It is mainly known for providing a ride-hailing service to rival taxis but also has interests in food delivery, package delivery, couriers and freight transportation.

Uber was founded by Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick

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Uber was founded by Garrett Camp and Travis KalanickCredit: PA

What is Uber?

Uber was founded in March 2009 and is based in San Francisco, California.

It has operations in more than 900 metropolitan areas around the world.

Statista estimates Uber has more than 93 million monthly active users worldwide.

How does it work?

Uber is a ride-hailing app which provides an alternative to the taxi or mini cab.

Users download the app which uses GPS technology to locate available drivers.

You then tap the screen to hail a cab and pay automatically on arrival with a credit card already registered on the app.

Fares are usually lower compared to more traditional taxis.

Uber is a ride-hailing app

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Uber is a ride-hailing appCredit: AFP

Where can I get an Uber?

In the UK, you can order an Uber in a number of large cities including London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Leeds.

In East Anglia the service is available in Cambridge.

You can also get an Uber in a number of cities in the Midlands in Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham, or Stoke.

The north of England is home to lots of cities where Uber operates, including Leeds, Manchester, Merseyside (Liverpool), the North East (Newcastle) and Sheffield.

The south of England has a wide range of cities with Uber UK, including Brighton and Sussex.

Uber is also available in the Home Counties, the South Coast (Portsmouth), and the South West (Bristol).

In Scotland you can get one either in Edinburgh or Glasgow.

In Wales the service is available in the capital Cardiff.

Uber also operates in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Users download the app which uses GPS technology to locate available drivers

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Users download the app which uses GPS technology to locate available driversCredit: Alamy

What other apps are there?

Rivals to Uber will vary from place to place because not every company will have a licence to operate in that area.

Here are some of the main ones:

Bolt

Bolt started life as Taxify in 2017 but was quickly stopped after TfL ruled it did not have the proper licence.

It came back as Bolt in 2019 and appears to be growing quickly with more than 1.5 million sign-ups in London.

Rides start with a £2.50 base fee, plus £1.25 per mile and £0.15 per minute.

Kabbee

The system is slightly different to the usual ride-hailing services.

Instead of having its own cars and services, the app pulls together over 50 cab fleets from across the city to utilise London’s minicab services.

It specialises in airport rides and promises to be 28 per cent cheaper than Uber. In addition, it offers fixed fairs and no surge pricing.

Kapten

It launched in London in May 2020, offering 50 per cent off new rides and says that, generally, its rides are 20 per cent cheaper than its competitors.

It also operates a loyalty programme, rewarding customers with free rides and access to new benefits the more they use the app.

Ola

It launched in London in February last year.

Ola claims it has 20,000 drivers on its app.

It’s Start Code is said to ensure customers and drivers are correctly matched with a one-time use code in the app.

ViaVan

ViaVan is joint venture between ride-sharing start-up Via and Mercedes-Benz Vans, ViaVan works like an on-demand bus.

It launched in April 2019 and TfL extended its licence for three years in 2020.

Wheely

Wheely is an upmarket ride-hailing service.

Wheely doesn’t work with taxis or cabs, but instead offers a chauffeur car service, with all its drivers picked through an accreditation process to ensure they offer the highest level of service.

It only uses new Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

Xooox

Pronounced ‘zooks’, Xooox works in a similar way to Kabbee in that it gathers together a list of available taxis and private hires in London.

Customers are able to compare prices and times from different firms, as well as car size and even emissions output, before booking a ride in the app.

The Sun Newcastle upon Tyne