Uber launches U Line in Rome

Uber to challenge Rome's public transport with U Line.

The taxi hailing mobile app Uber has asked its Rome users to vote for their ideal eight-stop itinerary of taxi ranks which the company is calling the "U Line."

The idea is to let Rome residents decide the experimental circular route which will have a constant supply of Uber cars and mini-buses at each of its eight stops.

Commuters have until 9 December to vote for their favourite option on the Linea-U website and the most popular eight-stop route will have a trial run from 10-24 December.

The low-cost taxi network, which launched in Rome in 2013, says it wants to offer an efficient and economical transport alternative to locals and pilgrims during the Vatican's upcoming Holy Jubilee of Mercy.

Carlo Tursi, general manager of Uber Italy, says the temporary project could become a “permanent reality” if Italy were to adopt the proposed changes to existing regulations governing the taxi sector, as recommended recently by the national transport and competition authorities.

The Uber system works by connecting customers to the nearest available car via a smartphone app, and the service is operated by private drivers who pay a percentage of their fare to the company.

The Californian firm has triggered protests from taxi companies around the world over claims that its service is unfair, illegal, and taking business from regular cabbies.