TAXI drivers fear Uber’s expansion into Colchester will impact their livelihoods.

The American transport company, which makes it easy to order a car in a few clicks on its mobile app, is now operating in Colchester, the Gazette can reveal.

Its presence in the north Essex city is tiny compared to big cities like London, with only a handful of Uber drivers understood to be operating in Colchester.

But cabbies are asking “lots of questions” and are “worried about their businesses” according to Dave Harris, who is the chairman of Colchester Council’s licensing committee.

Gazette: Cars - the taxi rank in Colchester High StreetCars - the taxi rank in Colchester High Street

Mr Harris said: “I get a lot of the licensing trade contact me and they’re worried about their businesses and whether it’s a level playing field. There’s lots of questions coming in about Uber.”

The councillor has written to the authority’s licensing team to ask for more information about Uber’s operation in the city.


“I am expressing concern to make sure there is a level playing field across all private taxis, hackney carriages, and Ubers,” he said.

“I want to make sure no-one is disadvantaged.”

The extra choice for passengers is welcomed as long as everyone is safe, Mr Harris said.

Gazette: Concerned - Dave Harris is the chairman of Colchester Council's licensing committeeConcerned - Dave Harris is the chairman of Colchester Council's licensing committee (Image: Steve Brading)

“I would start asking questions if my daughter was coming home late at night and I didn’t know who that driver was.

"I only want the people I love to be coming home in the safest ways possible.”

Resident Abbey Ward, who has used Uber before on a trip to the capital, thinks it is a great addition to Colchester.

She said: “It was easy to book and pay for on the app and the journey was ten-out-of-ten.

"It was a 40-minute journey, the driver made it comfortable and he was very chatty.

“As a girl on my own late at night in London, I felt very safe. I think it being in Colchester is a good idea because taxis can be so unreliable.”

When checked by the Gazette on Wednesday afternoon, a trip from our newsroom in The Crescent to Colchester High Street, a journey of less than four miles, would cost £11.99.

We were quoted £8 – almost 50 per cent less – by a local cab firm for the same journey.