Are Glaswegians ditching Uber for local companies such as Glasgow Taxis?

COP26 has seen Uber prices surge dramatically pricing out some Glaswegian customers.
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The population of Glasgow has ballooned since COP26 got underway on 31 October.

Approximately 30,000 delegates have visited the city to attend the conference, while tens of thousands of protesters have descended on the city urgently calling for action from leaders in attendance.

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The temporary growth in Glasgow’s population has seen public transport disrupted and roads closed across the city, with fury aimed at the city council after COP26 attendees issued with a free city wide smartcard unavailable to locals.

The stress on transport hasn’t been limited to public options with taxi usage soaring during the first week of COP26 and many local residents priced out of using the Uber ride app.

Anecdotal evidence of increased fares have been seen on social media with some app users saying they had ditched the app altogether.

Others have touted local companies such as Glasgow Taxis, as an alternative to the San Francisco headquartered company.

Why has Uber been so expensive recently?

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With an influx of people to the city, demand for Uber has been high.

An Uber spokesperson told GlasgowWorld: “we acknowledge that during peak times, especially with unprecedented levels of demand in Glasgow this week... wait times are longer than usual.”

As demand increases, prices surge. Uber explains “prices may increase to help ensure that those who need a driver can get one”.

Despite resulting in eye-watering costs, Uber insists that the mechanism means that the app can “continue to be a reliable choice.”

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As the fees increase Uber continue to take 25% of all fares.

Have local companies increased fares?


Glasgow City Council sets prices for all licensed taxis in the city.

Glasgow Taxis’ meter readings align with the city council’s rate.

It explains: “all our vehicles have taxi meters which have been checked by Glasgow City Council and found to be accurate. The taxi meter will display the current taxi tariff.”

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Dougie McPherson, Glasgow Taxis chairman, commented: “Glasgow Taxis offers an unmatched service with respect to customer safety, cleanliness of vehicle and the option of fixed price, with no prospect of surge pricing no matter how busy we are”.

Are Glaswegians swapping Uber for local companies?

Not exactly.

Demand for Uber continues to be healthy in the city, hence the price surges.

The Uber spokesperson explains that due to the increase in demand, the company need to hire 20,000 drivers across the UK to “get service levels back to normal.”

Have companies such as Glasgow Taxis been noticed an uptick in users from Uber, however?

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McPherson, says that “while we can’t tell if new Glasgow Taxis users were previously Uber customers, unless they tell us that themselves, it’s fair to say we have enjoyed a healthy level of interest in Glasgow Taxis from new or returning customers during COP26.”

This increase in popularity is in no small part due to the company’s ability to offers fares via an app or a phone call, explains McPherson.

He says: “The balance of traditional phone bookings against those done via our app continues to travel in the direction of the latter, however we are proud to be able to continue to offer both, with our 24/7 staffed call centre in Glasgow providing real peace of mind and personal service to many customers.”

Can Uber and Glasgow Taxi drivers cancel or reject fares?

Uber drivers are able to cancel fares and Uber acknowledged that due to increased demand “cancellations are happening” during COP26.

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Twitter user ShannonDarko implied that drivers are “not accepting trips that are shorter so loads of people are unable to get a ride”. Uber did not comment on whether this was the reason Uber drivers were rejecting trips.

Mcpherson explained that Glasgow Taxis would never reject a fare due to length of distance.

He said: “we accept all bookings regardless of distance.

“Helping an elderly person just along the road from the shops, or safely taking someone a short distance home at the end of a night out, could be considered our most important hires.”

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