Taxify takes on Uber in Crowded London Marketplace says DiDi Chuxing, China’s Largest Firm

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DiDi Chuxing, China’s largest firm, is seeking to turn up the heat on pioneer Uber via a series of deals with rivals in Africa, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Taxify is a fraction of Uber’s dimensions – 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 cover marked-down fares and letting drivers retain a bigger share of the profits. “Competition is a great thing as it raises service levels across the board,” an Uber spokesman said in a statement.

“We’ll always be more economical than Uber,” company founder and Chief Executive Markus Villig said in a phone interview with Reuters. In London, it enters a market in which private hire cab firms such as Addison Lee and the city’s famous black cab taxi drivers compete with programs including Gett and Hailo, which is part of Daimler’s MyTaxi. 40,000 drivers are counted by Uber and contains per week 3 million London users, who take 1 million trips.

The Uber logo is seen on a screen in Singapore August 4, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White

Taxify said after signing up 3,000 private hire taxi drivers, that were vetted to ensure they meet local licensing requirements, it will launch services across London on Tuesday.
Taxify said on Monday it would take a 15 percent commission on rides versus the 20-25 percent Uber prices in London. Taxify said it will accept payments as well money unlike Uber, from riders.

Uber has struggled over the past year with disputes, workplace harassment scandals, driver protests and setbacks among supervisors. It has pulled back from many European nations, Russia and China, while retaining minority stakes. Bolstered by announced financial backing from China’s DiDi, Taxify aims to expand by the year’s end, including Paris, Villig said in a phone interview.

In a bid it last week called Expedia Inc CEO Dara Khosrowshahi to lead the company and fired its pugnacious co-founder and chief executive Travis Kalanick in June.

“Ride-sharing has been monopolized by Uber,” Villig said. “Now it is getting clear that in many markets there’ll be major competitors.”

From its home base in the Baltics, Taxify first staked out cities in central and eastern Europe. Where Villig says he hopes to overtake Uber over the past year, it has turned into several of Africa’s biggest cities. (reut.rs/2iUoJIK)

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Estonian start-up Taxify is to go head to head with Uber [UBER.UL] in London’s highly competitive taxi-hailing marketplace, and also has Paris in its sights.

It marks a significant move forward for Taxify after missteps by the Silicon Valley giant allowed it to make inroads in several cities in eastern and central Africa and Europe.

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