Virgin Trains has announced a partnership with Uber to allow passengers a ‘seamless’ journey to and from railway stations.
Customers on the West Coast line will have the option to receive a text reminding them to book an Uber taxi to the station or for when they arrive at their destination.
But the Daily Mail reports that unions have criticised the new tie-up between the train firm and the taxi app saying it could ‘compromise commuter safety’.
Virgin Trains says the new scheme has been launched to encourage more people to leave their car at home rather than leave it in station car parks. Passengers booking a taxi will be eligible for 50 per cent off their first Uber journey up to a maximum value of £10.
The link-up started at the end of May on trains between London Euston and Birmingham New Street, rolling out on other routes in the coming months. These include Birmingham International, Glasgow Central, Milton Keynes Central, Manchester Piccadilly, Edinburgh Waverley and Edinburgh Haymarket.
The deal does not apply to the return leg of the journey. There will be a two-week testing period in which customers will give feedback.
Sarah Copley of Virgin Trains said: “Our exciting new partnership with Uber is the next step in making this end-to-end journey easy and seamless for customers.”
However, others criticised the partnership including Amanda Gearing, an official with the GMB union. She explained: “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.”
A petition calling for Erewash cabbies to be allowed to have fully-tinted windows in their taxis has been rejected over fears that vehicles could be used to enable the abuse of vulnerable children and adults.