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Taxify hopes to get back on London roads by next week

Taxify app.
Taxify app. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

Estonian ride-hailing startup Taxify hopes to have issues with local regulator Transport for London (TfL) resolved and restore service in the British capital by the beginning of next week at the latest.

On Sept. 8, just three days after launching its service in London, Taxify had to halt its operations there after TfL launched an investigation into the company.

It was determined that Taxify was not registered in London as a private hire vehicle operator, due to which it did not have the right to accept ride bookings.

Taxify CEO Markus Villig told ERR that preparations are underway for continuing operations in the British capital — TfL demanded additional security requirement compliance from the company, and Taxify hopes to have everything in order by the end of the week.

"Our plan is to launch sometime this or next week," he added.

The Estonian ride-hailing service has previously cited TfL's lack of interest in dialogue or offering tips to ensure their application is approved. According to Villig, the authority's attitude has not improved, but the company has reached an alternative legal solution.

"The first time they were not satisfied with the licensed business we have, but this time we found a different kind of legal solution with which we believe they will be more satisfied," Villig explained. "We're currently waiting for final approval from them so we can relaunch."

While the delay has meant additional expenses for the expansion to London, according to the CEO, the increase has been marginal in the context of the company's launch budget.

"Ultimately, what is most important for us is that [London] was our most successful launch ever for drivers and clients alike, so if we incur some additional legal fees, that isn't the main concern," said Villig. "Businesses are generally more concerned about where to find clients and drivers. In our case, thankfully, these problems have already been solved."

Expansion to Paris not to be affected

According to Villig, Taxify's planned expansion to Paris will not be affected the obstacles the company has encountered in London, as transport regulations in Paris are significantly simpler and the launch of new platforms more competition-friendly.

"Everything is going smoothly in Paris," the CEO confirmed. "Rather, we hope to receive final confirmation from London this week — then everything will be shipshape in both cities."

He noted that preparations are underway in Paris, and that there are teams on location in both cities who are working on training drivers.

When exactly Taxify can be expected to launch in Paris, however, Villig was unable to say, noting that the goal was to line up hundreds of drivers first, as Paris is such a large city to cover.

During its first three days of operation earlier this month, 3,000 drivers joined and 30,000 clients downloaded the Taxify app before the company halted operations after local regulator Transport for London had claimed that the new market entrant had failed to obtain a proper operating license.

Taxify operates in 19 countries around the world. In early August, the company announced that Chinese ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing had purchased a 13-percent holding in Taxify and would support the growth of the Estonian-developed platform in Africa and Europe.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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