The taxi app industry has been hit by a major blow to the UK’s tech industry, with competition between cab companies dropping to record lows.
According to market research firm Ovum, there were only 9.3 million taxi rides last year, down from 13.1 million in 2015.
Taxi drivers have been forced to compete with Uber and similar services for customers.
The decline in the taxi market has been driven by Uber, whose market share in the country has plummeted to around 10 per cent.
Uber was valued at $16.7 billion last year.
In a statement to the BBC, Uber said: “We’ve had our share of competition in the industry, but this year is the first time in our history we’re seeing our competitors outcompete us in the market.”
The app company also said that its driver-centric, app-based driver-assistance platform was the most used in the world.
Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick also said in his letter to staff that “the company is confident that by 2020, we will have achieved an industry-leading driverless fleet”.
But, according to Ovum research, that could be a decade from now.
Uber is one of the most dominant taxi companies in the US, with a fleet of around 1.8 million vehicles.
The company currently has a total fleet of about 5 million cars.
Taxi and limousine service provider Uber has been growing steadily for the last decade, with revenue up by 20 per cent to $26.5 billion last financial year.
Uber has also gained market share from ride-sharing companies such as Lyft and Sidecar, which have also seen their fleets grow dramatically in recent years.
The growth of these services has helped to drive down the price of taxi licences, allowing drivers to earn as much as £15 an hour.
However, the UK Taxi Association has criticised the decline in driverless cars.
In an open letter to the government, it said that while the industry was “increasingly successful”, there was a “strong trend” towards drivers being replaced by autonomous vehicles.
It also claimed that the introduction of smart phone apps such as UberEATS, Uber Taxi and UberPool had made it easier for drivers to book rides on these services.
UberEats has been criticised for charging a premium for a service that is free in most countries.
UberPool, which charges a fee of £8, has been hailed by many for helping to improve the safety of its drivers.
In the UK, UberEAT has been praised by critics for offering a safe and affordable alternative to traditional taxis, but it has also attracted criticism for its aggressive pricing, which it said would cost drivers an extra £1,000 a year.
As well as a dramatic decline in taxi rides, Uber also has a long history of scandals.
Last year, it was revealed that the firm had paid more than £100 million in back taxes in Britain, with over half of the money coming from tax avoidance schemes.
Uber had to pay back £40 million in fines, which were reduced to £10 million, and agreed to pay a £1.5 million fine in the United States, where the firm has operations.