A GLOBAL taxi service has announced that it is expanding to a North East town through a local taxi firm from this week.

Uber has today, Thursday, October 21, announced that its Local Cab product is launching in Stockton-on-Tees, enabling passengers in the town to book a trip with a local taxi company via the Uber app.

Following a successful pilot of Local Cab earlier this year, which saw launches in six towns and cities across the UK, Uber is now extending the service to other areas of the country.

Uber hopes to make it simpler to arrange a taxi by opening their app, entering the trip details and choosing a local cab operator.

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When you make your request, Uber will locate a local cab operator for you to book with, and send them your contact details to help you complete the trip.

Anyone opening the Uber app in Stockton-on-Tees will be presented with the Local Cab option, which connects them with local taxi firm Skyline Taxis.

Residents and visitors to Stockton-on-Tees had not previously been able to book a ride via Uber, despite the app being opened almost 7,000 times per month.

Uber came to the UK in 2012 starting off in London and then spreading to major cities across the country.

Now, in order to meet growing demand for trips and extend the use of its app beyond the 40 UK towns and cities in which it currently operates, Uber is looking to work with local operators.

Tahir Mahmood, Managing Director at Skyline Taxis, said: “We’re proud to bring Local Cab to the people of Stockton-on-Tees.

"This provides another way for customers to book with us – and for anyone visiting Stockton-on-Tees that already uses the Uber app, Local Cab will make it easy for them to book a ride with a local operator.”

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Ash Kebriti, UK General Manager, Uber, said: “The Local Cab pilot has proved to be a success for local operators, riders and local economies. Local operators have seen increased demand for trips and are now actively recruiting new drivers, which is having a positive impact on the local economy.

"We are now excited to roll the product out to more towns and cities across the UK.”

A landmark decision of the Supreme Court in February ruled that Uber drivers have worker status, in what was seen as a blow to the gig worker economy.

As a result, Uber now guarantees drivers at least the National Living Wage, holiday pay and auto enrolment into a pension scheme.

But its drivers can retain flexibility to choose when to work and can drive with multiple apps at the same time.

Uber said drivers must hold a valid private hire licence from their local authority and go through a DBS check.

It stressed that for every journey, passengers see their driver’s name, photo, vehicle make and model, as well as their licence plate and their private-hire licence number.

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