Scotland business

Controversial Uber taxi app to launch in Edinburgh

Uber app in use Image copyright PA
Image caption The Uber app allows passengers to request a private hire car using their mobile phone

The controversial Uber taxi app is launching in Edinburgh after the company reported "huge demand" for the service in the city.

Uber said more than 65,000 people in the capital had already opened the app ahead of Friday's 16:00 launch.

The service allows passengers to hire a taxi using a mobile phone.

Uber first moved into Scotland last month with the launch of its app in Glasgow. There are plans to expand the service to other towns and cities.

Earlier this year, Edinburgh City Council granted Uber a licence to run a booking office from George Street, which is required by law for licensed taxis or private hire companies.

To use Uber, customers download an app that uses GPS technology to locate available drivers nearby and puts them in touch.

Legal ruling

Uber has faced criticism from traditional taxi companies, who want to see greater regulation of private hire vehicles.

Authorities in Europe have also criticised Uber over safety issues.

But the California-based firm has insisted its drivers are safe and reliable, and that all are required to pass enhanced disclosure and barring service checks.

Last month a High Court judge in London ruled that the taxi-hiring app was legal.

Transport for London had sought clarification over whether or not the app broke the law by operating in the same way as meters used by more strictly regulated black cabs to calculate fares.

'Blown away'

Max Lines, Uber's general manager for UK expansion, said: "We have been blown away with the reception we received in Glasgow, so are really excited to be launching in Edinburgh today.

"Thousands of Scots have embraced Uber over the last few weeks and we hope to continue this success in the Scottish capital.

"In the last six months alone over 65,000 people in Edinburgh have opened the app, so we know there is a huge demand for the service in the city.

"At the push of a button, people will be able to get a ride which is convenient, safe and affordable."

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