MILAN – Uber Technologies Inc. has struck a deal with Italy’s largest taxi carrier to integrate its ride-hailing app as it seeks to expand its presence in the eurozone’s third-largest economy, the company said on Tuesday.
The move is part of Uber’s strategy to work with established taxi operators to tap demand after an epidemic-driven recession.
Under the agreement with IT Taxi, more than 12,000 taxi drivers in Italy will have access to the Uber platform. This will make the app available in more than 80 new cities and expand Uber’s existing business in major cities such as Rome, Milan, Turin and Bologna.
The partnership, which will begin in June, follows similar agreements in Spain, Germany, Austria, Turkey, South Korea, Hong Kong, as well as New York and San Francisco. The company wants to make every taxi available in its app by 2025.
“This is a truly historic agreement among our most strategically important markets worldwide,” said Dara Khosroshahi, CEO of Uber.
“We firmly believe that Taxi and Uber are good together, and we are committed to making it a long-term trust and partnership in the future,” he added.
Like other European countries, Italy blocked the use of the Uber service in 2015, relying on drivers without a commercial license following legal challenges from taxi associations.
In Italy, Uber currently operates in eight cities, including Rome and Milan, where it offers its so-called Uber Black service, which provides professional drivers in luxury sedans. (Editing Reporting Keith Wear by Elvira Polina)