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By Eric Auchard
FRANKFURT, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Uber rival Taxify said on Friday it had temporarily halted operations in London after just three days when regulator Transport for London stepped in to call out the Estonian start-up for failing to obtain an operating licence.
The taxi-hailing company, active in 25 cities in central and eastern Europe and Africa, launched private hire services in London this week. (reut.rs/2eQFWSe)
“Taxify is not a licensed private hire operator and is not licensed to accept private hire bookings in London,” a Transport for London spokesman said. “TfL has instructed Taxify to stop accepting bookings and it has done so.”
Taxify said its software platform for connecting drivers and passengers was working with City Drive Services, a licensed London private hire firm. City Hire was incorporated in 2014 and is based in southeast London, Companies House filings showed.
It said it had signed up 3,000 drivers and had 30,000 customers download its ride-ordering app in its first three days of service.
Taxify, which recently announced financial backing from China’s DiDi Chuxing, said it had temporarily halted operations but looked forward to resolving the issue with TfL.
“(Our) sole objective is to make London’s ride-hailing market fairer so that better value is delivered for customers and drivers alike,” the company said.
It has said it will take a 15 percent commission on London rides booked through its online platform, versus the 20-25 percent Uber charges.
TfL has announced plans to increase the fees private hire operators pay to cover the increased costs of regulating the increasingly competitive sector.
In March, Uber lost a court battle to stop TfL from imposing stricter English reading and writing standards on private hire drivers.
The action was partly taken in response to protests by London black cab drivers against Uber for failing to meet local standards. (reut.rs/2xgcDzZ) (Reporting by Eric Auchard; editing by Mark Potter and Jason Neely)