Virgin Trains has joined forces with Uber to make it easier for passengers to book a cab to and from a railway station.
Customers will be given the option to receive a text message with a link to book an Uber to the station – and another at their destination station.
Passengers booking a taxi will be eligible for 50% off their first Uber journey up to a maximum value of £10.
The deal does not apply to the return leg of the journey.
Opponents say the scheme puts the livelihoods of regular taxi drivers at risk – and comes at a time when the ride-hailing app is battling to secure its operating licences in London, York and Brighton amid safety concerns.
The scheme begins on Wednesday on trains between London Euston and Birmingham New Street, and there will be a two-week trial period for customers to give feedback.
The plan is then to expand the service to other routes including Birmingham International, Glasgow Central, Milton Keynes Central, Manchester Piccadilly, Edinburgh Waverley and Edinburgh Haymarket in the coming months.
The train company claims the move is aimed at encouraging more people to leave their cars at home, while the cab firm added: “We want door-to-door experiences to be as seamless and convenient as possible… at the touch of a button.”
But Amanda Gearing, an official of the GMB union, said: “The licensing of taxis sits with individual local authorities, who take account of many factors, including safety and size of the market.
“This partnership tramples over our local democracy and we’ve already heard councils raising issues about this.
“Concerns about commuters’ safety and risks to the livelihood of many taxi drivers have been side-stepped to promote the interests of a public sector privateer and a company that refuses to give workers employment rights.”
Cllr Jayne Innes, Coventry Council cabinet member for city services, said: “This is incredibly disappointing news for locally licensed taxis, and for the black cab industry up and down the country.
“Uber has a business model that means they bypass tougher taxi licensing authorities, and undermines quality across the board.
“This announcement causes me grave concerns over passenger safety, and on behalf of Coventry City Council call on Virgin Trains to reconsider.”
From – SkyNews