The Impact of Uber in the UK

The Impact of Uber in the UK


Uber is driven by the mission to help people go anywhere and get anything while empowering people driving with the platform to work when, where and for as long as they like.

This short report is an update to  Uber’s first UK impact report, originally published in 2020. Since then, and despite the challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic, Uber’s platform has grown significantly: it now connects more than 100,000 drivers with 5 million active riders (passengers) in the UK.

Since the original impact report was published, Uber has marked the milestone of its one billionth ride in the UK and celebrated 10 years of operating across the country. It now also offers additional travel options on the platform via the launch of Uber Travel, while also turning its focus to becoming a fully electric platform. There are more EVs on the Uber platform in London than in any other of the 10,000 towns and cities Uber operates in globally.

Creating value for the UK economy

Uber creates economic value in a number of ways. By making mobility shared, flexible, safer, and more convenient, the app unlocks new ways of getting around. It complements public transport, enabling individuals to enhance their commute, spend time with friends and family more often and enjoy a wider range of entertainment and hospitality. 

This gives Uber a critical role across local economies and the night-time economy. Better transport options also enable Uber riders to reach a wider range of jobs, clients, customers, and suppliers, improving productivity and making our cities work better. 

Uber’s contribution to the labour market is significant. The app provides over 100,000 licensed Private Hire Vehicle drivers with flexible, good work and a range of benefits and protections that remain unique to Uber compared to other major private hire operators. It also indirectly supports thousands of jobs throughout the wider supply chain, from mechanics to insurance companies. 

In total, we estimate that:
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Uber unlocked £5 billion in economic value for the UK in 2022. This includes both the direct impact of the earnings of drivers who use Uber, and the subsequent indirect and induced multiplier effect created throughout the wider supply chain.
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Every million trips in a city supports £18.1 million for the local economy

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By making it easier for people to travel late at night, Uber is enabling £686 million of activity in the night time economy.

However, when solely looking at traditional GVA measurements, some of the most important types of value that Uber creates are overlooked. Uber saves riders time, provides a safer way to get home when travelling late at night and closes transport gaps by integrating with public transport networks, helping to provide first and last mile connections. Uber’s commitment to sustainability also supports  the UK’s Net Zero ambitions, offering riders more sustainable options to get them from A to B. 

It is important to state that Public First’s modelling does not include the impact of Uber’s direct investment or employment footprint as a company in the UK, or any spillover effect this has into the wider tech ecosystem. However, it could reasonably be expected that there are clear additional economic benefits derived from its investment, employment and spillover effect on the wider tech ecosystem. 
Worker Protections

In 2021, GMB and Uber signed the first national union recognition agreement ever in the gig economy. It was a historic moment and followed Uber’s decision, supported by GMB, to give its drivers worker protections. This means all Uber drivers are provided with a  pension, holiday pay and guaranteed National Living Wage. Feedback from drivers demonstrates this has transformed the driver experience. Ali Haydor, Chair of Driver Reps for the GMB union, who has himself been driving with Uber since 2020, said:

“Drivers are still able to choose the hours they want to work and the days they want to work, and also they get to choose the jobs they want to do. It’s giving work-life balance and full flexibility at the same time as good wages. Now you tell me what other workers’ contracts in the UK provide that flexibility at the same time as all the other benefits? There are none that I know of. GMB is committed in its partnership with Uber to continue to improve driver protections and this work is evolving as our relationship grows.”

Uber saves riders time and boosts
the economy

Uber has become increasingly integrated into the day to day lives of Britons right up and down the country. Over a quarter (26%) of Brits reported travelling with Uber in the last month.  

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In the last year, 11.6m riders had used Uber to see a film, show or performance
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In the last year, 13.5m riders had used Uber to visit friends or family
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In the last year, 8.8m riders had used Uber to commute to work

Riders choose Uber based not just on cost but because of the convenience and flexibility it offers. In fact, when riders were asked why they use Uber, one answer came back overwhelmingly more than others: convenience.

Whether it’s getting to work, connecting with friends and family or supporting the local economy through trips to hospitality and arts venues – Uber trips deliver a range of benefits for riders and the wider economy. Using government estimates of the hourly value of leisure and commuting time, we estimate that the economic value of this time saving stood at £447 million for Uber riders in 2022.

89% of riders point to convenience as an important reason why they use Uber. The total consumer surplus created by Uber, i.e. the amount you would have to pay someone for them to voluntarily give a good or service up, is equal to over £13 billion, or 0.6% of GDP (Uber UK Impact Report 2020).

An overwhelming majority (70%)  of Uber users told us that riding with Uber is often the quickest way to get to their destination. In total, Uber saves riders an estimated 2 billion minutes a year – that’s around 80% of the predicted benefit of High Speed 2. On average, riders say Uber saves around a quarter of the time that the next best alternative would have taken.

Which factors tend to be important or unimportant in your choice to use Uber?

Why do you choose to ride with Uber?

Sustainable and integrated travel

In 2020, Uber announced its intention to become a zero-emissions mobility platform, supporting drivers to make the green transition and riders to make more sustainable choices.  


Uber’s goal is for every car on the app to be fully electric by the end of 2025 in London and by 2030 across the UK. Since launching Uber’s Clean Air Plan in January 2019, over £145 million has been made available to support drivers to make the switch to fully electric vehicles.

The Electric Vehicle Transition

Uber has increased the number of fully electric vehicles on its platform from just 100 in 2019, to well over 10,000 by 2023, spearheaded by Uber’s Clean AIr Plan in London which supports drivers with the cost of switching to a fully electric vehicle. In addition, Uber is investing £5m in the installation of 700 new electric charge points across London where data shows that drivers need them most.

Experienced EV drivers now support other drivers with their switch to an electric vehicle. One of these EV Ambassadors, Olu, said: “I’ve been concerned about climate change for a long time, but had a wake up call when I learnt that my lung capacity had been affected by air pollution… I thought, ‘OK, let’s go for it and switch to an electric vehicle with Uber’.  

Since switching, Olu has found that ‘passengers like EVs too – they like the smoother drive. It makes me feel good that I am part of the solution and I’m doing the bit that I can to help the environment’.

Increasing numbers of riders are now actively choosing fully electric travel by selecting Uber Green for the same price as a regular Uber X or Green Reserve when they book their journey.

Uber is also supporting Riders to make more sustainable choices. Operating across every nation and region of the UK, Uber is complementing the public transport system and, in many cases, helping customers connect directly with public transport.
of riders say having Uber as an option reduces their need to drive

In 2022, two thirds (66%) of riders had used Uber to connect with public transport
A future of shared mobility

Uber has recently launched Uber Travel across the UK, as part of the long term “Go Anywhere” global strategy – with the aim of making all options for travel as convenient and affordable as possible. It builds on other modes which have been integrated on the platform over recent years, starting with e-bikes and e-scooters in 2019, and Uber Boat by Thames Clipper in 2020. The launch of Uber Travel now enables travellers to book trains, coaches, boats, Eurostar and even flights through the Uber app. 

Uber’s vision is for a future of shared, more sustainable mobility, delivered through a fully integrated transport system across the UK and beyond. Uber sees its future as making journeys using different modes of travel as simple and convenient as possible, door-to-door.

Already, 74% of people think Uber is an important transport innovation. Uber Travel and the growth of micromobility like e-scooters and bikes takes us another step towards a future of seamless journeys that increase convenience, lower emissions and make the most efficient use of finite capacity on the public transport network.

Uber provides a safer way to get home and supports the night-time economy

By making it easier to get home – often after public transport services have stopped for the night – Uber supports people working and spending in the night-time economy.

of Uber users say that having options like Uber available makes them more confident in staying out late
believe that having options like Uber helps reduce drunk driving in an area
Over half of users (56%) say using Uber is often the safest way for them to get home

Uber helps people come together to try new hotspots, bars and restaurants, encouraging people to explore new parts of their towns and cities. Following the pandemic, Uber has continued to help riders travel with confidence, key to supporting businesses to rebuild, enabling job creation and supporting economic growth. 67% of riders say Uber makes it easier to get around their city and to get to bars and restaurants.

Safety features

Uber continually works to improve and develop new safety features in the app. Between 2019 and 2022, over 600,000 riders shared real-time information about their trips with loved ones over 1.5 million times. Uber works closely in partnership with experts to reduce any safety incidents and keep learning. This includes partnerships with the AA, Hestia and the GMB union. Through these partnerships, drivers have been trained to safeguard vulnerable individuals or de-escalate conflict situations.

Through Verify Your Ride, riders can request a PIN code to verify their driver before getting in the car. In the most urgent cases, when a user taps the emergency button, they are provided with critical trip details to relay to the dispatcher, including the vehicle’s location and the rider’s and driver’s names.

About this report

Uber UK commissioned Public First to help them better understand and quantify the impact of Uber for riders, communities and drivers. We used data from Public First’s poll, data provided by Uber, and official statistics, such as the ONS’ National Travel Survey, to create new nationally representative polling and new quantitative models of the economic impact, time saved, consumer surplus, and driver value created by Uber. You can read the methodological note here. 

Public First is an independent consultancy that works to help companies and organisations develop new policy proposals, better understand public opinion, and model their economic and social impact. Public First is a member of the Market Research Society.