A new app has launched in London that will go head-to-head with Uber, offering cheaper rides.
Taxify is launching in London today after it got 3,000 private hire taxi drivers on board and vetted them to make sure they meet local licensing requirements.
Taxify is a fraction of Uber’s size – being active in just under 25 cities compared to Uber’s presence in nearly 600 cities worldwide – but runs on a lower cost business model, allowing passengers to pay marked-down fares and letting drivers retain a bigger share of the profits.
Taxify said on Monday it would take a 15 per cent commission on rides booked through its online platform, versus the 20-25 percent Uber charges in London.
Taxify also said it will accept cash as well electronic payments from riders, unlike Uber.
‘We will always be cheaper than Uber,’ company founder and Chief Executive Markus Villig said in a telephone interview with Reuters.
Uber has struggled over the past year with legal setbacks, workplace harassment scandals, driver protests and bitter disputes among directors. Over the past year it has pulled back from China, Russia and several eastern European countries, while retaining minority stakes in joint ventures in those markets.
In a bid to stabilise the company, it fired its pugnacious co-founder and chief executive Travis Kalanick in June and last week named Expedia Inc CEO Dara Khosrowshahi to lead the company.
From its home base in the Baltics, Taxify first staked out major cities in central and eastern Europe.
Over the past year, it has vaulted into several of Africa’s biggest cities, where Villig says he expects to overtake Uber by the end of 2017.