Uber granted licence to operate taxi service in Aberdeen despite protests

Uber had previously withdrawn its application in 2019 before putting forward a new application earlier this year
-Credit: (Image: Getty)

Uber will soon be operating its ride hailing taxi service in Aberdeen after being granted a licence to operate in the city.

The taxi firm has previously put forward an application in 2019 before it was withdrawn, before reapplying to the city council earlier this year.

It will see Aberdeen become the third city in Scotland to have access to the service after Glasgow and Edinburgh.

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Ahead of Wednesday's licensing committee meeting, the council received 485 letters of support for the plans, while 23 objections to the application were also received.

An additional three objection letters were also submitted beyond the cut-off date set by the local authority.

During around two hours of discussions, Uber officials fielded questions surrounding the service from how the ride hailing company operates to fares and passenger safety.

However despite protests from existing taxi firm bosses at the council meeting, Uber was granted its licence to bring its taxis to Aberdeen.

The news comes following the back of recent frustration among locals with the current service in the city, with lengthy queues at taxi stands and a lack of availability at night time.

Commenting on the decision to award the licence, Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: "We are grateful to the licensing committee for their decision and delighted that Uber’s application to open a booking office in the Granite City has now been approved.

"Aberdeen Inspired brought Uber to the table in Aberdeen after we recognised there was a crying need to address serious issues with taxi provision in the city, especially around late nights at the weekend.

"This need wasn’t something Aberdeen Inspired simply plucked out of thin air. Our levy payers, partners and the wider public, came to us with a litany of complaints and issues they had faced with a severe lack of taxis especially at night on weekends.

"Their fears – and ours – were simple and direct: Concerns over safety as people, especially the vulnerable, try to make their way home alone on foot in the small hours.

"The impact on the city’s economy, especially at night time, as people openly say they will not come into the city centre for fear they can’t get home safely at the end of their night out.

"The detrimental effect on Aberdeen’s reputation as visitors struggle to get where they need to be – including transport hubs - because no taxis are available.

"We respect the taxi trade in Aberdeen, their dedication and hard work and their commitment to the city. That is never in doubt. But it has become obvious the current situation isn’t meeting the needs of transport provision in Aberdeen and, worse, is hurting the city as a result.

"We do not expect Uber to be a magic wand that will fix all of these woes overnight. However, bringing more taxis and drivers onto the streets of Aberdeen must be part of the solution and that is the prospect Uber offers.

"Giving permission for Uber to operate in Aberdeen is not the end of the story over taxi provision. It is merely the start of a conversation with all parties and stakeholders to ensure our city and its people have the taxi service everyone wants and needs."