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  1. ITV Report

20 things you didn't know about Uber

Photo: PA

1. Ratings matter... Users of Uber's app probably know you can rate your ride experience with your driver after you are dropped off at your destination. At first look it seems like a great way to weed out bad drivers (if the rating criteria were clearer). It seems that Uber bosses have very high standards, with drivers below a 4.6 star average rating potentially being place at risk for deactivation.

2. ... but not for you. Uber lets its drivers rate their passengers, so every time you step in an Uber car, you have the potential to be rated. This is done to help drivers make an informed decision whether to pick someone up or not. However, Uber drivers only have a few seconds to accept a job or let it go to another nearby driver, so most will accept a rider regardless of their rating.

3. It asserts that its drivers are ‘partners’, meaning they are not entitled to normal worker’s rights. Uber has contested claims that this is exploitative, claiming that it is allowing its drivers to work as independent contractors as part of the gig economy and in the spirit of entrepreneurship. Currently an Uber driver does not have rights to holiday pay, or the right to properly challenge a discipline or grievance notice before being fired from their role.

London's Black Cab drivers might be happy with the decision. Credit: PA

4. Uber has spread worldwide. In only eight years, the San Francisco-based taxi-hailing company has reached 630 cities across 81 countries since 2009 (each with their own competitors) and makes 10 million trips a day worldwide. There have however been a growing number of cities, territories and states that have banned the service including Alaska, Barcelona, Vancouver, Oregon (except Portland), Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungary and Australia's Northern Territory.

5. There are no limits on the number of cars Uber can operate. The company it currently has more than 40,000 drivers in London, which contributes to London’s already terrible air quality (a TfL- commissioned study found that nearly 9,500 people die each year in the capital because of pollution) it means there will be less and less work for drivers who have made Uber their full-time job.

6. Uber’s tax arrangements are highly contested. Uber processes its jobs through its Dutch subsidiary, Uber BV, which allows Uber to charge a lower VAT rate. The Dutch VAT rate is 0 per cent for entrepreneurs conducting foreign businesses from the Netherlands; in the UK it’s 20 per cent. This allows Uber to offer super-low prices.

Uber is used around the world. Credit: PA

7. Uber deducts a fifth of a driver’s income, which is already low. According to a GMB union member who works exclusively for Uber in London was paid £5.03 net per hour for 234 hours driving during the August calendar month. This is £1.47 per hour below the current national minimum wage of £6.50 per hour. For each hour he worked, he paid £2.65 to Uber, equating to 53 per cent of his net pay per hour.

8. Cars cannot be more than 10 years old. Not anyone can become an Uber driver. Uber's parent company Uber Technologies has some pretty strict regulations and policies in place. When it comes to cars that can be used for ride sharing, they cannot be older than 10 years. Also, cars used by Uber chauffeurs must have four doors. Two doors are not allowed.

9. Drivers can rent their car and smartphone. People who want to drive for Uber but may not have an acceptable car or their own smart phone are often able to rent both through the company. Uber Technologies has schemes in place to connect people to car rental companies in their area and enable them to rent a vehicle.

Many taxi drivers have been angered by Uber's aggressive expansion. Credit: PA

10. Drivers don’t know their passenger’s destination when they pick them up. When an Uber chauffeur accepts a ride request, the only information they get is where the passenger is to be picked up. No other information is provided – including the destination address. This means that Uber drivers pick-up rides cold.

11. Uber has no customer service phone number. They never have and they probably never will (they do, however, offer email support at support@uber.com). This has actually caused serious issues for a New York based design company called Uber Inc. (who registered the name back in 1999) which allegedly received 500 phone calls in four months from frustrated passengers and even drivers looking for their paychecks.

12. Some drivers prefer working for Lyft. Several Uber drivers have said that they have never received any kind of appreciation for their service from the company. Apparently, Uber doesn’t really "do" driver appreciation, and even getting in touch with someone at their head office can be time consuming or never happen at all..

The app now has many other taxi-hailing competitors worldwide. Credit: PA

13. Uber Is Uber-Rich. According to its most recent stock valuations, Uber is valued at around $60 to $70 billion, not bad for a company that’s just eight years old. It’s even more impressive when you consider that Uber is more valuable than both Ford (worth $60 billion) and GM ($55 billion). In fact, it’s the world’s most richly valued private company.

14. 71 percent of drivers are parents. The odds that the person behind the wheel is a parent, working an extra job (or a flexible job) trying to make ends meet for their families are overwhelming.

15. Humbled beginnings Uber was founded in San Francisco in 2009 by University of California dropout Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, also the founder of StumbleUpon.

UberKITTENS was one of Uber's crazier publicit stunts. Credit: PA

16. Be your own boss 87 percent of Uber drivers said a major reason they drive on the Uber platform is to be their own boss and set their own schedule.

17. Who doesn't love a publicity stunt? One of Uber's crazier offerings was UberKITTENS, which gave people in seven U.S. cities the option of buying cuddle time with real kittens in 15-minute increments, with proceeds going to animal shelters.

18. Not just for a night out Over 50,000 companies enrolled in Uber for Business in its first year of operation. The top four cities for Uber business travel are London, Mexico City, Paris, and Toronto.

Uber has branched out to offer food delivery services. Credit: PA

19. You can't eat and drive Uber isn't allowed to operate in Spain, but that hasn't stopped them from offering UberEATS, a food delivery service in Barcelona. In the United States, its food delivery arm is called UberFRESH. And in New York, you can use UberRUSH for parcel delivery.

20. No perks! Part of their lean business model means that even Uber drivers pay full price when they request rides for themselves - no company discounts!