London suspends Estonian ride sharing service Taxify

London suspends Estonian ride sharing service Taxify
By Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw September 11, 2017

Estonian ride sharing company Taxify has had its services suspended by the London transport authority over licensing issues.

The halting of services in London is a hurdle to Taxify’s rapid expansion. The company is determined to overcome the problem as soon as possible, Taxify’s founder and CEO Markus Villig said in a blog post published on the company’s website on September 9.

Recently backed by the Chinese ride sharing company Didi Chuxing, Taxify claims to be the fastest growing ride-sharing company in Europe and Africa with an alleged 2.5mn users in 18 countries, including Hungary, Romania, South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya.

The UK capital’s transport authority Transport for London (TfL) said Taxify did not have a valid license to offer services and ordered the company to halt activity after just three days of operations.

"The law requires private hire bookings to be taken by licensed private hire operators at a licensed premises, with appropriate record keeping," according to a statement on the TfL website. 

"Taxify is not a licensed private hire operator and is not licensed to accept private hire bookings in London. TfL has instructed Taxify to stop accepting bookings and it has done." 

However, Taxify claims it is offering rides via partnership with a local licensed ride sharing company City Drive Services.

“London has surprised us with the most hostile regulatory body we have ever encountered. More than four months ago we applied for a private hire operator license. Over this time we contacted TfL more than 20 times, without a single reply on the clear status of the application,” Villig wrote in his blog post.

“TfL has done everything in their power to keep the current private hire monopoly in place,” Villig added. The CEO claims some 30,000 users have signed up to use Taxify's services in London so far.