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Fury at taxi and train deal

Virgin Trains are teaming up with Uber
Virgin Trains are teaming up with Uber

Concerns have been raised about the impact a new partnership between Virgin Trains  and Uber could have on local taxi drivers.

They have teamed up to give passengers a “seamless” journey, which will allow them to book an Uber taxi to the station and when they arrive at their destination.

Virgin said the aim was to encourage more people to leave their cars at home.

The link-up starts today on trains between London Euston and Birmingham New Street, rolling out on other routes in the coming months.

Eddie Earley, the borough’s union rep for hackney cabs, said he would not be happy about it coming to Wigan, particularly as drivers buy a permit to work from the station.

He said: “It would devastate the hackney rank on Wigan North Western because Uber would take all the journeys.

“Uber isn’t really in Wigan yet, so it means the trade is going to be impacted, not just for hackneys but the private hire sector as well.”

Amanda Gearing, an official of the GMB union, said: “Virgin Trains teaming with Uber is not good news.

“The licensing of taxis sits with individual local authorities, who take account of many factors, including safety and size of the market.

“This partnership tramples over our local democracy and we’ve already heard councils raising issues about this.

“Concerns about commuters’ safety and risks to the livelihood of many taxi drivers have been side-stepped to promote the interests of a public sector privateer and a company that refuses to give workers employment rights.”

But Virgin Trains and Uber believe the scheme will benefit customers.

Sarah Copley, of Virgin Trains, said: “We know that tackling the first and final mile is critical to opening up rail travel to new customers.

“Our exciting new partnership with Uber is the next step in making this end-to-end journey easy and seamless for customers.”

Fred Jones, of Uber, said: “In order to make it easy to leave your own car at home, we want door-to-door experiences to be as seamless and convenient as possible.

“This partnership with Virgin Trains is an exciting first step towards offering customers an easy way to combine train and car travel at the touch of a button.”