A Cheaper Rival To Uber Has Just Launched In London… And It Pays Its VAT – Londonist

A Cheaper Rival To Uber Has Just Launched In London... And It Pays Its VAT - Londonist

Uber rival: French ride-hailing app Kapten to launch in London – Daily Star

A new private-hire vehicle service has launched in London, calling out its rival, Uber, for avoiding paying local taxes.

Kapten claims its about to make the biggest shake-up in Londons travel network since Uber launched here seven years ago. The French company, founded in 2012, will take on London with 5,000-10,000 drivers, according to the FT, launching with a 50% discount on all rides.

After that, it claims its average fares will be 20% cheaper than the competition, with trips in the congestion charge zone at least £2 cheaper than Uber.

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Another boon offered by the service: the rider knows the exact price of the journey before the trip is booked.

What will particularly stick in the craw for Uber is Kaptens peppy campaign, hammering home the unpalatable truth that Uber uses loopholes to avoid paying VAT. (This is something that has not endeared Uber to TfL). Says a spokesperson for Kapten, “Each time a Londoner takes an Uber ride, 60p of VAT is lost that could finance the NHS, schools and other parts of the UK economy”.

Its a strong moral stance to assume, but what chance does Kapten really stand in this competitive environment? Well, it does have TfLs approval — something that the mayfly-speed birth-and-demise of Taxify in 2017, couldnt claim. In its native France, Kapten has grown to become the second-largest car-booking app in France, with three million users. An aggressive campaign of growth has seen it clock up 80,000 users in Lisbon, and it wants to be in 15 cities by next year.

As we all know though, with rapid growth, comes great pressure — and often a tweaking of customer value (and company values).

The firm, which is formerly known as “Chauffeur Prive”, has been approved by Transport for London to launch in the capital.

The firm claims they are “cheaper” than Uber and the citys historic black cabs and are offering 50% off when they launch in the UK. 

“There has been one dominant, overconfident ride-hailing player in the field and its time to shake things up,” Kapten general manager Mariusz Zabrocki said.

The app will serve zones 1 to 5 and after initial offers expire it will be on average 20% cheaper than competing services, it is claimed. 

Kapten trips in the congestion charge zone will be at least £2 cheaper than Uber due to congestion and clean-air fees.

They also offer a fixed-price guarantee on rides, so you always know the exact price of the ride before you book it.

The firm unveiled ads in London today which took aim at their rival Uber, accusing the US firm of not paying tax. 

“Others avoid paying VAT in the UK, that’s not uber cool” the signs say, appearing in areas across the capital including Leicester Square.

Kapten says they pay their taxes locally in each country they operate in, which contributes to local services such as the NHS. 

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