After overcoming a difficult start in Norway, the taxi app has launched in its first location outside of the capital city Oslo.
Residents and visitors to Trondheim can now use Uber as an alternative to existing taxi and public transport services.
Uber is an app-based platform where professional and part-time drivers can connect directly with people wanting a ride. In cities where Uber is available, you can use the Uber app to request a ride. When a nearby driver accepts your request, you can see an estimated time of arrival in the app. Payment is handled in the app.
Even though some taxi services have introduced app-based solutions, the lack of a central dispatch office means Uber is usually cheaper than traditional taxi services.
After a long period of disruption, the company is ready to expand its operations in Norway. It has surprised a few that Trondheim is next in line after Oslo.
“We have looked at other places in Norway and are continuously assessing what opportunities we have,” said Uber Nordic boss Peter Löfstrand to Nettavisen.
From this week, Norwegians living in and around Trondheim will now be able to use the app to call a ride.
“Trondheim is a very exciting city and a technology capital in Norway. It feels completely right to come up with our innovative and technical solution here. Trondheim has been a priority, so it's very cool that it's finally happening,” said Löfstrand.
While there have been some positive changes to public transport in Trondheim such as the temporary re-zoning of Trondheim Airport, many other changes have been for the worse. This includes fewer departures on many routes in the evenings and on weekends.
This frustration in the city is something Uber could take advantage of over the coming weeks. Perhaps more locals than expected may be tempted to give the platform a try.
A difficult relationship with Oslo & Norway
Uber's story in Norway so far has been a long and complex one. In November 2014, the company launched Uber Black in Oslo, shortly followed by Uber Pop.
Just a few years later, they shut down the latter service, which is the one most users will be familiar with.
At the time, Uber said there was a lack of clarity about platforms such as Uber and how they fit into the Norwegian model: “We acknowledge the importance of these questions. That’s why we’re engaging in a constructive dialogue with policymakers across the political spectrum to find a solution that works for all Norwegians.”
But in October 2020, the platform returned to Oslo and has gained a foothold in the market. Uber bosses said that more than 100,000 people had used the service by the middle of 2021.
The future of Uber in Norway
It will be fascinating to see if and how quickly Trondheim locals adopt Uber into their transport habits.
Löfstrand says nothing about future expansion, but surely the Trondheim project will prove decisive as to if and when the platform expands to Bergen and Stavanger, and perhaps smaller cities like Tromsø.
But there may still be problems ahead for Uber in Norway. The new Støre-led government has previously made it clear they are opposed to the loosening of regulation in the taxi industry.
Despite this, Löfstrand said they welcome the opportunity for dialogue: “We want the same as the government: a format that contributes to a healthy taxi industry, competitive terms with accessible and safe service. It is important to point out that we follow all the rules and laws that exist.”