Uber's success hits taxi sector growth

Uber's success hits taxi sector growth

The soaring success of taxi-hailing app Uber is having a dramatic impact on the growth of the UK's traditional cab and private hire industry, new figures suggest.

Just eight new taxi companies were incorporated with Companies House during the first four months of this year, compared to 290 in the corresponding period last year and over 300 between January and April 2014.

Thousands of drivers are said to have switched to Uber from local cab firms and concerns have been raised that the app's success is discouraging the establishment of new companies.

Steve Garelick, the secretary of the GMB union's professional drivers branch, says many operators are finding it difficult to compete.

Uber, though, says its flexibility is helping to attract drivers from other companies. And it says two-thirds of its new drivers have been referred by existing operators.

Uber now operates in 68 countries around the world, with its operations in France and Belgium having triggered taxi strikes in Paris and Brussels.

Some Chinese cities, meanwhile, plan to cut the daily fees taxi drivers have to pay to enable them to compete with Uber.

The number of new taxi firms registered in the UK during 2015 was 65% down on 2014's total, marking the first decline since 2008.

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