Economy

Uber rival forced to suspend London operations after just three days

Uber rival forced to suspend London operations after just three days”

Taxify, an Estonian ride-hailing app billed as a cheaper alternative to Uber, has been ordered to stop operations in London just three days after launching. This incredible response shows the huge demand for greater choice in the monopolised London ride-hailing market. Taxify claims that this move was "invalid, without merit and outside of existing law".

However, yesterday it transpired that Taxify, which is not a licensed private hire operator (ie. minicab) had begun seeking clarification on its situation. In a letter to Transport for London and London's deputy mayor for transport, GMB secretary Steve Garelick said that Taxify's decision to acquire its way into London and not advise TfL of a change to licencing conditions appeared "incompatible with the law" and questioned whether the startup was "fit and proper" to hold a licence in the capital.

"Taxify is not a London licensed private hire operator", a TfL spokesman said in a statement issued on Thursday.

It continued: "To launch its service to London customers, the business purchased a TfL licensed operator, running Taxify as a technology platform directing bookings to City Drive Services registered drivers".

"Despite multiple attempts at communication with to resolve the issue, TfL has not provided any guidance".

The app also sent a message to drivers, warning to say they were not employed by Taxify if they were stopped by TfL.

In addition, the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association said Taxify was "deliberately and publicly circumventing regulations" and using City Drive Services as a "facade".

Just three days after the launch, following a brief investigation of complaints, transport authorities shut Taxify down.

Unlike other world cities, London is a pretty supportive place when it comes to transport innovation. Taxify remain committed to playing a key role in the London ride-hailing market.

Taxify bills itself as "a technological platform for customers to hail rides from City Drive Services", which does have a license, but said TfL raised this "as a concern".

"(Our) sole objective is to make London's ride-hailing market fairer so that better value is delivered for customers and drivers alike", the company said.



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