Uber rival Taxify launches, then halts operations in London

Credit: Lisa Qian/ Credit: Lisa Qian/

An up and coming Uber competitor recently launched its service in London, then took it down a mere three days later. The Estonian ride- hailing app has been marketed as a much cheaper rival to Uber; it’s fares average half of those on Uber.

Taxify, founded by Markus Villig, failed to register itself as a private-hire operator. The
registration is required by law in England for ride-hailing companies to operate within the country. Taxify paused its London efforts to clarify its legal standing amid an urgent investigation launched by London transport regulator Transport for London (TfL). In fact, TfL ordered Taxify to stop accepting rides; the app says no drivers are available in the city.

As Taxify sticks to its goal to supersede Uber as the go-to ride-hailing app, this turn of events is sure to hurt business. Taxify’s inability to check with England’s transport laws pins the rm as either negligent or callous. Nonetheless, Taxify labels itself as a London- based private hire company, something TfL certainly disagrees with — hence the investigation.

Taxify shared with Business Insider that 30,000 people in London downloaded the app since the announcement of its arrival. 3,000 drivers signed up for the service as well. There certainly is much excitement around Taxify’s low fare rates, which best Uber’s, and its introduction into a new market. Furthermore, Taxify only takes a 10–15 percent cut of the fare, whereas Uber takes a 20–25 percent cut, something its drivers vocally complained about.

Taxify has successfully operated in up to 25 cities thus far, not including London. The
rm certainly shows promise, and a working business model. Villig founded the company at 19 years old, only a high school student, in 2013. Since its founding, the company has raised $2.4 million in investments and venture capital.

All its drivers undergo criminal background checks, as safety of passengers is a top priority for Taxify. Rider safety has been an issue for Uber, with numerous stories of assault and rape.

Once Taxify clarifies its legal standpoint in London, hopefully its operations will be back up in London. The city is a great market to determine the startups rigor against giants like Uber and Lyft. Who knows: Taxify’s much cheaper prices may force their competitors to drop their prices as well, a consequence of ecomonic competition, making things better for us — the customers.