Taxify forced to suspend London operations just three days after launch
U ber rival Taxify has ordered its drivers to halt all London rides just three days after launching in the city .
The ride-hailing app was forced to pull its services after a challenge from Transport for London, which said the company lacked the proper private hire licences to operate in the city.
Taxify, which offered a cheap alternative to Uber with promises of better pay and conditions for drivers, confirmed on Friday it had “temporarily stopped” operations in order to clarify its position with the transport authority.
The Estonian company, which has spread across Europe since it was founded in 2013, said it already had a fleet of more than 3,000 drivers in London with 30,000 people downloading the app in its first three days.
T he app had offered cut-price incentives in its first month, charging riders almost half the price of its rivals.
The company said it operated as a technological platform, not a taxi company. It said it offered its services through local hire company City Drive Services, which already had its own private hire license, a requirement to operate a taxi firm.
“Taxify is a technological platform for customers to hail rides from City Drive Services, a licensed London based private hire company,” Taxify said. “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.”
A TfL spokesperson said: “The law requires private hire bookings to be taken by licensed private hire operators at a licensed premises, with appropriate record keeping. Taxify is not a licensed private hire operator and is not licensed to accept private hire bookings in London. TfL has instructed Taxify to stop accepting bookings and it has done so.”
Taxify had applied for its own private hire licence this summer, although it is yet to be granted. As of Friday morning no London drivers were available on the app.
— E London Cars (@elondoncars)
September 5, 2017
I n messages sent to drivers, Taxify tried to warn drivers if they were stopped by TfL they should say they were not in fact employed by the company. The message, posted on social media, said: “As per your agreement and contract you are not employed by Taxify. Nor do you work for Taxify.”
Other ride-hailing companies have had similar run-ins with London’s transport authority. Uber has been in a legal battle with TfL over stringent tests and language requirements imposed on new private hire drivers.