Daimler-backed Via and Didi-backed Taxify launch in London challenging Uber


Taxify is now in London, with Via following later this year (Source: Daimler)

Uber's ride-hailing dominance in London is about to be challenged with confirmation of the arrival of two new ride-hailing startups in the capital, first reported by City A.M..

Estonia's Taxify has confirmed it will launch on Tuesday while US firm Via today revealed global expansion plans, starting with London, after inking a fresh deal with one of the world's biggest car makers..

The new backing from car giant Daimler will provide Mercedes-Benz vans for Via's carpooling plans in the capital and beyond, and the pair will also seek to licence its on-demand technology to public transport operators across Europe.

Read more: Addison Lee's licence renewed for only six months as TfL considers fees

The deal, a figure for which has not been disclosed, is the latest example of the German car maker getting into the so-called mobility space.

Daimler also owns a stake in the UK black cab on-demand startup formerly known as Hailo. Now known as MyTaxi, it is set for a fresh publicity campaign to attract new users across the city, it's understood, as competition heats up.

Meanwhile, Taxify has attracted 3,000 drivers to its platform for launch and is tempting Londoners with the offer of half price fares throughout September.

The expansion plans were boosted by investment from Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hailing giant and Uber rival, in its first foray into the European market over the summer.

Founder and chief executive Markus Villig told City A.M. that its arrival will increase competition in the capital and it can take on Uber by competing on low prices for consumers and better pay for drivers.

Such is the demand from drivers - who get 85 per cent of the fare - that it has had to put many on a wait-list. He added that it was "likely " they had switched from Uber, which takes a 25 per cent cut.

The rivalry for London, one of the world's major cities for on-demand rides, come as the transport regulator considers increasing the cost for minicabs to operate in London. Licences for Uber and Addison Lee have been renewed for just a few months rather than the usual five years as it consults the industry on potential changes designed to cover the cost of regulating

Read more: Seven major changes Uber just made to improve life for drivers

Taxify's licence came from acquiring an undisclosed existing operator in London, speeding up what would have been a year-long wait for approval from Transport for London.

The startup, which already has more than 1m customers in 19 countries in Eastern Europe and Africa, said it could also potentially expand the platform to black cab drivers taking on MyTaxi and Gett.

The addition of more ride-hailing startups on London's roads is also likely to stoke further concern, particularly among black cab drivers, over the number of private hire vehicles on the road. The mayor Sadiq Khan is seeking powers to limit them due to concerns over congestion and pollution.