Melbourne will be the first city outside the US to host trials of Uber Air, a service the company describes as “aerial ridesharing” that will shuttle people from rooftop to rooftop for the price of an UberX.
The company has flagged test flights will begin next year, with commercial operations to start in 2023.
Bolt, the Uber rival formerly known as Taxify, is taking a significant step this week in its effort to build out its transportation-on-demand business across the biggest cities in Europe and Africa, which currently covers 25 million users in 30 countries and 100 cities: it’s finally opening for business again in London, the biggest ride-hailing market in Europe.
“Finally” and “again” are the operative words here: the Tallinn-based company had launched in London as far back as September 2017 — nearly two years ago — only to shut down its services after three days, when Transport for London, the city’s transportation regulator, started to investigate the terms of its license.
The ridehailing company Uber does not directly employ its drivers, the Fair Work Ombudsman has said, because drivers have control over “whether, when, and for how long they perform work”.
The decision comes after an investigation into whether Uber’s “driver-partners” are lawfully classified as independent contractors or are effectively employees, as argued by unions and a lobby group, Ride Share Drivers United.
Uber is under investigation by US and foreign tax authorities, the company confirmed on Tuesday, saying it could face charges in key markets including the UK.