Uber offers to be an ally in Portsmouth’s war against congestion chaos

Congestion is a major problem in Portsmouth
Congestion is a major problem in Portsmouth
Police outside Wilmcote House, Portsmouth

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PRIVATE hire firm Uber is offering its services in the battle to tackle Portsmouth’s mounting congestion woes.

A boss at the taxi company, which uses passengers’ smartphones to connect directly to drivers, told city councillors action needed to be taken to fix the island’s traffic problems.

Fred Jones from Uber

Fred Jones from Uber

Fred Jones, general manager of Uber’s UK and Ireland expansion, urged the council’s traffic, environment and community safety scrutiny panel to consider adopting an American-style approach to the problem.

He called on the authority to agree a new deal with app-based private hire organisations in an effort to slash the number of people using their cars to commute in and out of the city.

The idea was welcomed by the panel’s chairman, Councillor Stuart Potter, who said it could be a ‘positive step’ to resolving Portsmouth’s clogged road system.

He said: ‘The city’s roads can be an absolute nightmare at certain times of the day, especially around the school run time.

‘It’s a big issue, not just on the island but off the island as well.

‘Anything that can help cut congestion and improve parking is a good thing.’

Speaking at the panel’s latest meeting, in Portsmouth’s Guildhall, Mr Jones said private hire firms could be used to complement public transport.

He added similar deals between the firm and US councils had proved popular, cutting traffic on the roads.

Likewise, he said Uber’s pool services, a scheme that lets riders share a vehicle with another passenger, had been used by 2m people in London, taking 1.3m miles off the road.

Mr Jones said: ‘Parking and congestion is a serious issue that needs to be resolved for the benefit of the city.

‘The challenges with parking are symptomatic of a much wider question around Portsmouth’s urban mobility strategy and how people access the city, which will only increase in importance as Portsmouth grows.’

The panel’s next meeting is on Monday, February 13.