UBER could provide the key to solving York’s congestion and pollution issues according to the firms head of cities as he outlined plans for the future at the firm.

The transportation technology giant recently marked its first anniversary in York, however its arrival has not been without contention in the city, with staged protests organised by local private hire and Hackney Carriage drivers.

Amid calls from drivers in York for City of York Council to follow suit from Transport for London in ceasing to continue licences with Uber, the business’s head of cities Neil McGonigle arrived in York to talk to at a recent York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce lunch.

After 12 months in York, and three years operating in Leeds, Uber has grown a regional user base of more than 185,000 regular users, with people from 73 different countries using the app across North and West Yorkshire in the last three months.

While local GMB union representatives have questioned the safety the of Uber drivers, Mr McGonigle argued the case for the technology, stating the Uber ethos goes beyond getting passengers from A to B.

He said: “First of all every single driver is licensed by a local authority. From a safety aspect we have brought features to the industry that are now being mimicked by other companies.

“As a customer you are sent the drivers name, photo, and the make, model and colour of their car, so you know you are always getting in to the right car. Also you can see where the vehicle is on your phone, so you can wait inside somewhere safe rather than outside, potentially alone, or in a dark street.

“Customers can also share their location real time by text to a friend or relative, who will then be able to follow them on their app.”

Mr McGonible believe Uber plays a big part in helping to reduce congestion and pollution in Britain’s cities by helping to steer people away from private car ownership, and instead take a “multi modal” approach to transport, using firms like Uber alongside public transport.

He said: “How do we encourage people that private car ownership isn’t a necessity? We are saying if you give people an affordable alternative they will consider it.

“We are looking at partnering with city planners and developers to wean people off the concept of having private cars.

“We’ve announced our first partnership in the UK with Moda Living. Residents at their developments will be offered the opportunity to have Uber credits rather than a car parking space.

“That’s our vision for the future. It’s how can we work with private transport companies and public transport to encourage citizens of our cities that in 2018 it isn’t a necessity to have your own car.

“It’s looking at how can we encourage people to use a multi modal approach to help address issues like congestion, pollution and car parking, which are problems in many of our cities.”

Mr McGonigle said Uber has pledged to ensure every car in its fleet will be electric or Hybrid by 2020, including in York, with the date even earlier in London, where it is set at 2019.