Uber is continuing its march through the North of England. The car-booking app has been live in Leeds and Manchester for a while now, and has just launched in Wakefield, a much smaller city perched on the edge of the Pennines in Yorkshire. Wakefield has an old ruined castle, a majestic cathedral, and is the home of rock band the Cribs.
The Yorkshire Post first broke the news on Friday and appears quite excited about Uber’s latest venture. Drivers will be rolling out to pick up passengers today. The county’s general manager for the US-based $US40 billion valued company, Tom Elvidge, told the Post that 10,000 people have already opened the Uber app so far. Wakefield only has a population of around 80,000, so that means more than a 10th of the city’s residents are getting on board.
In an email to Business Insider, Elvidge said that the people of Wakefield told the company “what they wanted by downloading the app in their thousands.” He said: “As such we decided to launch in the city and give them what they wanted. We have already seen huge demand from riders and drivers alike.”
Elvidge said the company has seen a “really strong take-up in the UK generally.” Uber set up in London in 2012, and more recently launched in Birmingham. It’s live in 291 cities in 54 countries worldwide.
Here’s Wakefield from a nearby hilltop:
“Wakefield is an area that is well served by transport already, it has the main line rail… and probably has a population that is particularly tech savvy. It has been through a lot of regeneration and there are a lot of new businesses in Wakefield and a lot of younger early adopters of tech so hopefully it is going to resonate really well,” Elvidge added when talking to the Yorkshire Post.
Some people will now choose to ride with Uber, rather than this bus to Skipton:
Right now, it appears Wakefield has yet to buy into the hype often created when Uber launches in a new town or city. When it came to Birmingham last month, Twitter was awash in a frenzy of joy, and a bit of confusion, too.
If you decide to visit Wakefield, maybe you could take an Uber to see its cathedral: