In what may be one of the more short-lived ride hailing start-ups in the capital, Transport for London have instructed the Estonia-based global entity “Taxify” to cease operating in London less than a week after its launch there. Taxify have agreed to suspend its service.
Taxify, a rival to Uber that competes on cheaper fares and lower commission for drivers, has been growing rapidly, its expansion financially backed by Didi Chuxing, the company that saw off Uber in its home market of China.
Taxify had applied to TfL for an operator’s licence, but – frustrated with what it said was slow progress – acquired City Drive, an existing operator, to launch on 4 September 2017.
As well as having similar issues to those already present with the rival Uber operations – it being contended by others that in reality it was a platform that allowed private hire vehicles to ply for hire (a function confined to the iconic London Cabs) – Taxify had other issues, not least that its name appeared to be illegal under the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998.
Rapid objections were made by the representatives of the taxi trade, including the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, and within the week City Drive has disappeared from TfL’s register of licensed operators, and Taxify have complied with TfL’s instructions to cease operations in the capital.
Issues as to the legality or otherwise of ride hailing platforms in the UK market remain a hot topic, and all eyes will be on TfL as they consider the renewal of Uber’s operating licence prior to its expiry on 30 September.
Gerald Gouriet QC and Charles Holland of FTB acted for the LTDA in relation to its objection to the Taxify model, and continue to act in relation to the LTDA’s objection to the renewal of Uber’s operating licence.