Taxify, an Estonian ride-hailing app billed as a cheaper alternative to Uber, has halted operations in London just three days after launching.
The firm began operating in the British capital on Tuesday — but quickly ran into hot water over its licensing arrangements. It isn’t registered as a private-hire operator under the name “Taxify,” and London transport regulator TfL launched an “urgent investigation.”
In an emailed statement early Friday, Taxify defended its arrangements — but said it has “temporarily stopped operations to clarify its legal position with the regulator.” (Two Business Insider journalists tried to use the app on Friday morning, and found it said no drivers were available.)
Taxify bills itself as “a technological platform for customers to hail rides from City Drive Services,” which does have a licence, but said TfL raised this “as a concern.”
A Taxify spokesperson did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment as to whether TfL asked the company to stop operating in the city, and how long it expects the situation to last.
Taxify says that 30,000 people in London downloaded the app since launch, and that it has over 3,000 registered drivers on its platform.
The company promised that it would be cheaper than Uber, which dominates the London ride-hailing app market. It also takes a smaller cut of the passenger’s fare than its American rival — 10-15%, versus Uber’s 20-25%.
Here’s the full emailed statement from Taxify:
Taxify successfully launched its London ride-hailing app on Tuesday, with over 3,000 registered drivers and over 30,000 customers downloading the app in the first three days. This incredible response shows the huge demand for greater choice in the London ride-hailing market.
Taxify’s sole objective is to make London’s ride-hailing market fairer so that better value is delivered for customers and drivers alike. Taxify charges less commission than market incumbents such as Uber, keeping prices low for customers and improving earning potential for drivers.
Taxify is a technological platform for customers to hail rides from City Drive Services, a licensed London based private hire company. This has been raised as a concern by TfL and in full cooperation, Taxify have temporarily stopped operations to clarify its legal position with the regulator and reach a resolution so that services can return to normal.
TfL have a responsibility to Londoners to make sure there is a competitive ride-hailing market in the capital that strengthens incentives for operators to improve quality and safety while also bringing the overall cost down for customers. Taxify’s model does just this having achieved significant breakthroughs in over 19 markets around the world, and we look forward to an open and transparent dialogue with TfL in the coming days to resolve this.
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