UBER are making in roads into the Swindon mini-cab market – with several drivers taking fares in the town.

The multi-national private hire firm have held a license to operate in Swindon since 2015. It was renewed by Swindon Borough Council in December.

However, to date Uber had not made any moves to launch Uber in the town. They say drivers licensed by the borough can’t drive under the firm’s banner.

But Uber drivers do regularly take fares in Swindon, it has emerged.

Stories have emerged on social media of Swindon residents taking Uber rides in the town. And yesterday, the Adver took a ride with one highly rated driver – who hails from West Swindon. The 15 minute journey from Old Town to the Wichelstowe Waitrose cost a total of £8.63. The return journey with Cross Street Cars – a minicab firm registered in Swindon – cost £5.80.

Our Uber driver, a 40-year-old dad of three, who did not want to be named, praised the flexibility that Uber gave him – allowing him to work around his two primary school-aged children.

James, not his real name, has been driving with Uber for around a year. The six month application process included a Transport for London topography exam and a health check.

He said he was “based everywhere – this whole region”. It was “just a matter of time” before Swindon got behind Uber:“As I drop you off, I pick up another one.”

For former support worker and delivery driver James, “flexibility” is the best part of being an Uber driver: “I can keep on top of the books and I’m able to do the school run. Flexibility around the family is key. [As a support worker] I had a shift pattern where I never got the time to see my children.”

He would not swap his work/life balance “even if you gave me £10,000”, he said.

Uber drivers are all self-employed. They are sent jobs through the Uber “app”. All drivers must have a private hire license from a council Uber is licensed by.

Fares are booked through the Uber smartphone app. And for drivers, their “star rating” is all. Customers are asked to rate their driver after their ride.

James has been rated 4.92 out of 5. The smartly dressed driver said remaining “calm” was the key to a good driver rating.

Using a culinary analogy, he said: “If you’re a chef, make sure you’re the best.”

The arrival of Uber is likely to split opinion.

Alex Pollock, owner of an Old Town digital marketing agency, said: “Quite a large portion of our client base are based outside of Swindon and are amazed at the ‘lack of Uber’ to get around. It’s just become a given in a lot of people’s lives in the likes of London and Bristol.”

One Swindon minicab driver, who asked not to be named, said that the arrival of Uber would be welcomed by customers – but could be a cause of concern for drivers: “From the customer’s point of view it’s the more the merrier. You’ve got competition. Personally, you’ve got to be apprehensive about it.”

An Uber spokesman said: “We have not yet launched Uber [in Swindon]. There may occasionally be cars in the town from surrounding areas, but at the moment drivers licensed by Swindon council are unable to drive on the app.”