SHARE
COPY LINK

TRAVEL NEWS

Uber expands into Italy’s taxi market with new partnership

Uber on Friday launched a new partnership with Italy's biggest taxi dispatcher, meaning it’s now possible to hail a cab via the app.

Uber expands into Italy's taxi market with new partnership
Rome's residents and visitors now have a new option when booking a taxi. Photo by JavyGo on Unsplash

The new service was launched in Rome on Friday after the city became the first in Italy to agree to allow Uber to enter the local taxi market, according to Italian media reports.

While the ride-hailing app does exist in Italy, it’s currently only available in Rome and Milan – and only in the form of the more luxurious Uber Black.

READ ALSO: Why can’t I get an Uber in Italy?

The usual, cheaper Uber service is not allowed to operate in Italy, due to concerns about unfair competition for taxi drivers. The update on Friday doesn’t change this.

But the new addition to the app in Rome does mean the city’s residents and visitors have another option available when booking a cab.

Taxis can be summoned via the app, which gives an estimate of the cost upon booking. However the final price of your journey will be determined by the taxi meter.

It should soon be possible to book a taxi via Uber in dozens more towns and cities across Italy under a deal made in May between Uber and dispatcher IT Taxi.

READ ALSO: Rome vows to crack down on ‘rip-off’ airport taxis targeting tourists

However it’s not clear exactly when the service will become available in more cities, with local taxi drivers’ unions across the country reportedly still fighting to block the approval of the agreement.

Rome’s taxi drivers staged a series of protests in recent weeks against the planned expansion of Uber and a new decree containing provisions for deregulating the highly protected taxi sector.

Uber’s move came days after local authorities in Rome pledged to crack down on overcharging by unscrupulous taxi drivers operating at the city’s airports.

Member comments

  1. Uber Black is available in more than Rome and Milan now. I noticed ads for Uber in Bologna Airport recently and I checked and it is available in the city. It definitely wasn’t available when I first moved here so I don’t know when it started in the city.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

TRAVEL NEWS

UK border control strikes threaten Christmas travel chaos to and from Italy

Planned industrial action by British border force staff is threatening to complicate or even ruin Christmas travel plans for thousands of people going between Italy and the UK over the festive period.

UK border control strikes threaten Christmas travel chaos to and from Italy

Travellers arriving at the UK’s biggest airports over the Christmas period could face severe delays entering the country and even risk having their flights cancelled as a result of strike action by British border force staff.

The planned strike action would take place from December 23rd until December 26th and then from December 28th to New Year’s Eve.

The UK’s Home Secretary Suella Braverman warned travellers heading to and from the UK over Christmas and New Year to expect severe disruption and to rethink travel plans if strike action goes ahead.

“If they go ahead with those strikes there will be undeniable serious disruption caused to many thousands of people who have holiday plans,” the minister said. “I really want to urge people who have got plans to travel abroad to think carefully about their plans because they may well be impacted.”

A senior UK Border Force official told Britain’s i newspaper that “travellers can expect long queues at the airports affected by the strikes. We’re looking at similar waits as when we had all the Covid protocol issues in summer 2021 when queues of 10 to 12 hours were not unusual.”

“Passengers should also expect flight cancellations due to staff shortages,” they added, “so should keep in touch with their airlines before travel.”

The government has been preparing for the strike by training 600 soldiers to check passports. Reports have claimed up to 30 percent of flights could be affected if strike action goes ahead.

The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) has voted for strike action over pay and conditions from December 23rd until the end of the year, with the exception of December 27th, that will affect all major UK airports.

The walkouts threaten to ruin Christmas travel plans for thousands of people coming from around the world, including Britons who live in Italy hoping to return home for the festive period, perhaps for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as those wanting to enjoy a warmer Christmas break in Italy.

British media outlets estimate that as many as two million passengers have booked to fly in and out of Britain over the Christmas period on at least 10,000 flights scheduled to arrive at the affected airports.

Where are the walkouts?

Around 1000 Border Force staff are set to walk out from all of the UK’s busiest airports, including Heathrow (Terminals 2,3,4 and 5), Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Cardiff, and also the port of Newhaven.

The strikes will fundamentally affect passport checks for arrivals into Britain, as 75 percent of passport control staff are PCS union members.

Christmas is already one of the busiest travel times of the year, and walkouts from border staff are likely to cause severe delays and cancellations. Some British media outlets are even reporting that passengers could be left to wait on their planes on the runway, something that would then have a knock-on effect on other incoming flights.

Though passports aren’t usually checked on outbound flights, arriving aircraft often turn around and set off on their next outbound journey within an hour or two. If queues for arrivals become so bad that passengers are kept on the runway, outbound flights will be delayed and departures could be cancelled.

A Home Office spokesperson said in a statement that “passengers should be prepared for potential disruption.”

Various affected airports have made preemptive statements expecting major delays and cancellations.

“We expect it will be necessary for airlines to cancel some services on the days impacted by strike action to ensure the number of arriving passengers aligns with lower UK Border Force resources,” a spokesman from Manchester airport said in a statement. “Arriving passengers should also be prepared for much longer immigration queues on strike days, owing to reduced Border Force staffing levels.”

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “The Home Office advises that immigration and customs checks may take longer during peak times on strike days… Passengers are advised to check their flight status with their airline before travelling.” they added.

The British Transport Minister, Baroness Vere, has said that “the government does have mitigations in place,” which is thought to include army personnel and volunteers filling in for the striking staff.


What if I have flights booked?

As the strike action has just been announced, normal cancellation rules still apply (for now) so don’t cancel your flight just yet. If your flight is cancelled by the airline, however, as is expected for many carriers in the coming weeks, your regular rights will apply, including the possibility of being flown via another route, even on another airline if necessary, and hotels should be provided if you are kept overnight.

However, it is worth noting that as Christmas is a peak travel period anyway, finding extra seats as flights are cancelled to soften the impact of the strikes may be difficult.

It remains to be seen if, when, and how many flights will be cancelled. Cancellations are expected by all major airports, who have advised that passengers check the status of their flights before travelling.

For those who are set on travelling, expect severe delays at passport control, and keep an eye on the status of your flight in the coming weeks. 

SHOW COMMENTS