The rise of Uber

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UBER is a global company valued at £25.5bn which allows people to hail a taxi from their mobile phone.

It has rapidly expanded since its was founded in March 2009, although it has received criticism for not checking its drivers or subjecting them to thorough training.

As Uber’s business model is different to the current ones of taxi firms, it has been outlawed in several countries.

It was banned in Belgium in April 2014 and in Spain last December.

Germany also stopped the company from operating for a short time last year.

Uber has several types of service and its UberPop service - a ridesharing service which connects private car owners to passengers not yet planned for the UK - has been banned in the Netherlands and France.

The company was banned from New Delhi in December after one of its drivers was accused of raping a woman.

As well as facing controversy about how well it vets its drivers, it also faced criticism over its ‘surge pricing’ or ‘dynamic pricing’.

During the Sydney hostage siege in December it dramatically increased its prices - something Uber said was down to a misinterpretation of its system, which encourages drivers on to the road.

Across the world there have been protests about the company – including protests by its own drivers in New York, Santa Monica and San Francisco who were upset at the reduced fares, tipping policy, rating system, and driver safety.