Uber rival Taxify starts in London and vows to offer 'fares cheaper by 10%'

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A Chinese-backed European rival to Uber will launch in London tomorrow, the Standard can reveal. 

Taxify, which operates in 19 countries across Europe, Africa and the Middle East, runs via an app in a similar way to Uber but claims it offers cheaper fares and charges drivers less.

Its founder, 23-year-old Markus Villig, created the app from his parents’ home in Tallinn, Estonia, because he was tired of having to wait a long time for ordinary cabs. He said the market was ripe for a competitor, and claimed Taxify is 10 per cent cheaper for passengers than Uber and that thousands of his rival’s drivers are shifting to his firm.

“London right now is really suffering from lack of competition,” said Mr Villig, who created the app in 2013 when he was 19. “We have around one quarter of all Uber drivers in London signed up for us — that is around 10,000 already. It’s a semi-secret that drivers are not doing very well with current apps. They get just five per cent more than minimum wage.

“We’re on average 10 per cent cheaper than Uber across every city we are in. This is because we charge much lower rates to our drivers, so they get more [of the fare].”

Taxify takes 15 per cent commission from drivers, compared with Uber’s  20 to 30 per cent. Customers can pay by cash as well as via the app, and text drivers for free about pick-ups.

This summer, Chinese ride-sharing giant DiDi Chuxing, which bought out Uber in China in 2016, invested an undisclosed sum in Taxify.

TfL said: “Taxify is not licensed as a private hire operator in London.”

Mr Villig said the company had a valid licence and was sorting out any confusion with TfL. He said: “We believe we are compliant with all relevant regulations. We are registered as City Drive Services PHV which has an operator licence number. A company with the name of Taxify does not have a licence but City Drive does have a licence. 

“We look forward to sorting the issue out with TfL.”

Uber said: “Competition is good, it raises service levels across the board.”

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