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Uber granted licence to operate in Aberdeen

Uber Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Uber is a cashless service where users book taxis through a smartphone app

Ride-hailing firm Uber has been granted permission to operate in Aberdeen.

Uber confirmed that a licence had been granted but said there was not currently a launch date set for the service.

The controversial taxi firm was deemed unfit to operate by Transport for London and is appealing against a decision to remove its licence with similar action being taken in York.

It also currently operates in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Uber is a cashless service where users book taxis through a smartphone app.

The decision to grant the Aberdeen licence was made by council officers through delegated powers. Councillors were not involved in the decision.

Aberdeen City Council SNP group leader Stephen Flynn said: "I think the last thing we need is an organisation that has got a chequered past coming into the city.

"I was surprised no complaints had been raised by the public - I think it comes back to the fact the system we use is often confusing."

Image caption The decision has split opinion of taxi drivers in the city.

Douglas Lumsden, Conservative co-leader of Aberdeen City Council said: " Uber are just another taxi operator in my mind and this is why the decision has been made using delegated powers - as far as I'm concerned there are no issues with the process that has been followed."

The decision has split opinion of taxi drivers in the city.

One driver said: " I think it is good thing, Aberdeen needs it. I'm struggling to make a living as it is, so if Uber means more fares and money then I'm all for it."

Another driver said: " The basic rule is that Uber is 25% cheaper than black cabs. Minus 25% commission you are doing a £5 job for £2.50.

"Are you willing to work for £2.50? We cannot stop them, we just need a way to work with them."

'Game-changer'

Uber coming to the city has also divided opinion among taxi users, with some locals looking forward to the ease of the service but others preferring more traditional alternatives.

One resident said: "There's enough traffic in Aberdeen as it is. I also feel it would be unfair on existing taxi drivers who go through vigorous tests to operate in Aberdeen - they lost their licence in London."

Other locals have described it as a game-changer as it will help to cut waiting times for taxis and reduce costs.

An Uber spokesman said the firm would benefit drivers, customers and improve competition in the city.

He said: "We're really pleased about being granted a licence in Aberdeen.

"Passengers tell us they love being able to book a reliable ride at the touch of a button.

"Furthermore, tens of thousands of licensed private hire drivers across the country have partnered with us because with Uber they can choose if, when and where they drive."

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