Uber has reached an agreement to acquire British tech company Autocab to give Uber riders in the U.K. access to taxi firms and drivers in spots that the ridesharing behemoth doesn’t cover, Uber said in a press release.
Autocab offers booking and dispatch software. The expansion deal comes as San Francisco-based Uber struggles to recover from the plunge in business due to shutdowns caused by the pandemic.
During the height of the crisis in April, PYMNTS reported, the company said: “Given the evolving nature of COVID-19 and the uncertainty it has caused for every industry in every part of the world, it is impossible to predict with precision the pandemic’s cumulative impact on our future financial results.”
Uber said it could have a revenue drop of $60 million to $80 million in the second quarter.
In announcing the Autocab deal, Uber said in the release: “Every month thousands of people open the Uber app in places the company doesn’t operate to try to get a trip. Through Autocab’s iGo marketplace, Uber will be able to connect these riders with local operators who choose to take their booking.”
Uber said "operators should be able to expand their operations" and net new riders, according to the release. After the deal is complete, “Autocab will remain independent with its own board."
Autocab CEO Safa Alkateb said in the release that, working with Uber, his company could “scale up” its ambitions while “providing hundreds of thousands of additional trips for our customers.” He said the deal would “help cement the place of licensed operators in their local community.”
“Autocab has worked successfully with taxi and private hire operators around the world for more than 30 years and Uber has a lot to learn from their experience,” said Jamie Heywood, Uber regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe.
The agreement comes as a group of Uber drivers in the U.K. filed suit in July against the company, saying it has failed to provide access to data and an explanation of algorithmic management. The lawsuit argues that Uber is in violation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which controls privacy protection in the EU.