In a recent interview with Reuters, Anabel Diaz, the executive overseeing Uber’s mobility business in EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa), revealed that the company is experiencing a surprising surge of European taxi drivers joining its platform. This development is noteworthy considering the historical conflicts between Uber and the traditional taxi industry.
Diaz expressed confidence in Uber’s strong business performance in Europe, despite ongoing uncertainties surrounding labor regulations in the gig economy. She highlighted impressive growth rates ranging from 10% to over 50% in various geographical regions within Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
Uber’s primary markets in Europe, including Britain, France, Germany, and Spain, have shown remarkable business resilience and fostered innovation. Diaz emphasized the company’s commitment to developing taxi solutions tailored to the unique requirements of these countries.
According to Uber, the adoption of its app by European taxi drivers has doubled in the year ending April 30, representing 10% of all rides. Taxi drivers view the app as a supplementary tool for their traditional curb-side hailing business, as all Uber trips necessitate online booking.
The conflicts between taxis and Uber have diminished due to regulatory changes mandating commercial licenses for private Uber drivers. Diaz acknowledged that Uber faced initial staffing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, she emphasized that driver numbers have now reached an all-time high globally, leading to improved service levels.
While Uber reports aggregated figures for its traditional ride-sharing and delivery services (Uber Eats), Europe stands out as its largest market outside the United States. In the first quarter of this year, Europe contributed $2.1 billion in group revenues, accounting for approximately 24% of the company’s total revenue.
The classification of gig workers as employees remains a contentious issue in Europe, with varying models implemented in Spain, Germany, and Britain. The European Council is set to discuss and strive for a compromise on these rules in June.
Uber maintains its stance that its drivers should be treated as independent contractors. Nevertheless, Diaz assured that Uber will adapt and find a way forward, irrespective of the eventual outcome, as businesses are inherently adept at navigating challenges.