Uber-Rival Taxify Suspended in London Amid License InvestigationBy
Company’s drivers are unavailable after order to stop service
Operator hopes to ‘clarify’ status with Transport for London
Estonian on-demand ride-sharing service Taxify OU halted operations in London less than a week after they started, in response to an urgent investigation launched by the city’s transport authority.
The stoppage is temporary, and the Uber Technologies Inc. challenger wants “to clarify its legal position” with Transport for London, the local government body that administers the city’s subway, bus and taxi services, Taxify said Friday in an emailed statement. The company’s app informed users across the city that no drivers were available.
Taxify, which has financial backing from Chinese ride-sharing firm Didi Chuxing and operates in 26 cities in Europe, the Middle East, South Africa and Mexico, began offering rides in London on Tuesday. The transport authority took issue with the Tallinn-based company’s manner of entering the London market through the takeover of a locally based licensed private-hire provider, City Drive Services.
“TfL has instructed Taxify to stop accepting bookings and it has done so,” the authority said in an email. “The law requires private-hire bookings to be taken by licensed private-hire operators at a licensed premises, with appropriate record keeping,” and Taxify doesn’t hold that status.
Taxify has registered more than 3,000 drivers in London and more than 30,000 people have download the app since Tuesday, the company said in a separate statement. It charges an average 15 percent commission for drivers, according to its website. “Our pricing system is the same as our competitors,” one help note for drivers says.
Uber’s license in London is up for renewal by the end of this month following a four-month extension in May. The company lost a U.K. court bid in March which could ultimately prevent it from deploying thousands of drivers who cannot pass English-language exams. An all-party parliamentary group called in July for the government to give London Mayor Sadiq Khan the power to cap the number of private-hire vehicles on the city’s roads.