Uber is offering lucrative incentives to taxi drivers of up to €10 per trip to compensate for Irish laws that prohibit competitive pricing models.
The taxi-ordering app is spending heavily on a reformulated play for the Irish market. The US company, which just four years after its founding is valued at around $41bn (€35bn), launched in Dublin late last year.
Irish taxi laws prohibit Uber from practising its controversial "surge" pricing model, which guarantees taxis at peak times but charges users a higher price than normal. Surge pricing garnered international criticism in December, when the company used it in Sydney during a terrorist siege on a cafe. Uber can't use surge pricing in Ireland as taxis cannot charge more than the metered rate.
To compensate it has rolled out lucrative driver incentives during peak times to try and ensure users always have access to taxis. On New Year's Eve, drivers were offered €50 for every five Uber orders they accepted, and a guaranteed payment of €12.50 a trip regardless of distance covered.
Writing in today's Sunday Independent, Uber Ireland manager Jo Bertram said regulation must reflect the smartphone revolution. "We want to work with regulators to make sure that citizens don't have to settle for less because laws weren't written with apps and smartphones in mind."
Sunday Indo Business