Uber has signed a partnership with IT Taxi, the largest taxi dispatch service in Italy, in a tie-up aimed at boosting the company’s presence in the country.
The deal will allow IT Taxi’s 12,000 taxi drivers to accept trips through the Uber app, covering 90 cities across the country, according to a statement released Tuesday.
It comes as Uber and other ride-hailing apps grapple with an ongoing shortage of drivers, which has led to higher fares and longer waiting times.
Uber said the pact would help the firm expand its presence in Italy, Europe’s fourth-largest economy.
It follows a similar deal Uber agreed in New York in March. The company also has partnerships with taxi groups in Hong Kong, Madrid and San Francisco.
“This is a truly historic deal in one of our most strategically important markets globally,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement.
“We strongly believe taxis and Uber are better together, and we’re committed to making this a partnership of trust and cooperation long into the future.”
For years, Uber has faced opposition from Italian taxi drivers. The company was the target of protests from taxi drivers in 2017, who accused it of engaging in unfair competition. That same year, an Italian court blocked the company over anti-competition concerns, but this was later overturned.
Now, its platform is set to open up to thousands of taxi drivers across the country.
Uber declined to share full financial terms for the deal. A spokesperson for the company said its taxi service takes a fixed commission for access to the platform. In Spain, the rate Uber charges is 12%.