Uber set to reapply for licence to operate in Aberdeen

The global firm previously applied to operate in the Granite City in 2019, however local taxi drivers objected to the plans.

Uber confirms plans to reapply for licence to operate in Aberdeen following previous attempt in 2019 iStock

Uber has confirmed it is planning to reapply for a licence to operate its on-demand car service in Aberdeen.

The global firm put the brakes on its last effort to operate in the Granite City in 2019, following controversy surrounding objections to the application.

But Uber has confirmed to STV News that there are “ongoing discussions with city officials” about applying for a new licence in Aberdeen.

The company’s spokesperson declined to give any more details while the licencing process is ongoing.

The last time the company applied to operate in the north east, it came under criticism from traditional taxi drivers, who argued it had an unfair advantage due to lower fares.

The news comes amid calls for a change to the street knowledge test for private hire and taxi licence holders in Aberdeen.

In a LinkedIn post, Aberdeen Inspired’s business engagement manager, Roulè Wood, said: “Aberdeen is one of a few places in Scotland who demand private hire car drivers (taxis we book in advance) pass the local ‘knowledge test’ rank taxi drivers have to pass before they can apply for a licence.

“The pass rate is under 20% and it takes on average 22 weeks (some say longer) for a new driver to get on the road.

“Our test hasn’t been updated for a good number of years.”

Aberdeen Inspired, who run the city’s business improvement district and represent over 900 businesses, said: “For some time now, our levy payers have voiced consistent concerns regarding taxi provision, clearly echoed by wider public sentiment.  

“It is obvious taxi provision is something that needs to change as part of the drive to help the city’s economic recovery – in terms of safety, vibrancy and the city’s reputation – and our levy payers asked us to explore this.  

“In our talks with the taxi trade they agree and have stated they want to work towards viable solutions. That reflects on the trade’s hard work and dedication to passengers and the city, which is never in any doubt. 

“We have talked to our levy payers, we have talked to the taxi operators, and now we and Our Union Street will be working in partnership with concerned parties to find a way forward.

“We think people in Aberdeen would support that.”

An Aberdeen City Council spokesperson said: “The Council, as a Licensing Authority, will determine any licensing application in line with the current statutory framework and is not in a position to comment on possible future applications.”  

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