As Uber fights for survival in London it faces a new battle in Paris

A photo illustration shows the Uber app logo displayed on a mobile telephone, as it is held up for a posed photograph in central London. This logo has been updated and is no longer in use. (Reuters)
Updated 06 October 2017
0

As Uber fights for survival in London it faces a new battle in Paris

LONDON: As Uber battles to avoid being booted out of London, the company is fending off fresh competition from a new rival in Paris.
An Estonian ride-hailing service started operations in the French capital on Thursday backed by the financial clout and knowhow of China’s Didi Chuxing.
The standoff between London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Uber is showing some signs of easing after the mayor said talks between Uber and Transport for London (TfL) had been “constructive.”
It follows the shock decision by TfL to refuse to renew the license of the company in the capital, deeming it unfit due to its approach to reporting serious criminal offenses and background checks on drivers.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi met with TfL on Tuesday.
Khan, who was not at the meeting, said he hoped that a deal could be done that would see the firm and its fleet of 40,000 drivers remain operating in London.
“What gives me confidence about the TfL decision is the fact that the global chief executive officer for Uber apologized to London,” Khan told LBC Radio.
“I think that bodes well in relation to the humility which hasn’t been shown by Uber London or Uber UK. The tone of his apology was important.”
But while Uber was hopeful of progress in London, the company is facing a new rival in Paris.
The service, called ‘Taxify,’ already claims to have three million customers in 19 countries and has entered the French market with the grand ambition of taking on Uber.
Like Uber, Taxify operates via a smartphone app, allowing users to book rides and pay for them without using cash. But the company says it will take only 15 percent commission from drivers, compared to Uber’s 25 percent, and will price the rides 10 percent below the American giant.
“Paris is essentially dominated by one American company,” said CEO Markus Villig, who founded the Taxify when he was a 19-year-old student.
“We want to prove that European companies can also come in and gain a significant market share and show some competition.”
Villig said Taxify had managed to capture 20 to 30 percent of market share within the first year of operations in some countries and “we hope that we can have something similar in France as well.”
“I’m proud to say that we are the biggest ride sharing platform now in Europe, after Uber, and the biggest European one actually headquartered in Europe,” he said.
Taxify’s Chinese backer, the giant ride-sharing company Didi Chuxing, last year took over Uber China, driving its US competitor out of China.


Quake swarm jolts Indonesian islands, killing at least 13

Updated 20 August 2018
0

Quake swarm jolts Indonesian islands, killing at least 13

  • At least a dozen people are killed in multiple strong earthquakes on the islands of Lombok and Sumbawa
  • More than 1,800 houses were damaged, at least half of them severely

SEMBALUN, Indonesia: Multiple strong earthquakes killed at least a dozen people on the Indonesian islands of Lombok and Sumbawa as the region was trying to recover from a temblor earlier this month that killed hundreds of people.
A shallow magnitude 6.9 quake that hit about 10 p.m. was one of several powerful earthquakes Sunday in the northeast of Lombok that also caused landslides. The nighttime quake was followed by strong aftershocks.
At last 11 people on Lombok and neighboring Sumbawa island were killed by collapsing buildings or heart attacks, National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said Monday. Two people died earlier Sunday on Lombok during a magnitude 6.3 quake.
More than 1,800 houses were damaged, at least half of them severely, he said.
The swarm of quakes caused panic in Sembalun subdistrict on Lombok in the shadow of Mount Rinjani, but many people were already staying in tents following the deadly jolt in early August and its hundreds of aftershocks. On Sumbawa, a neighborhood was engulfed by a fire that started in a collapsed house.
“People panicked and scattered,” Nugroho said. “Some people are hysterical because they feel earthquake aftershocks that are harder than before. They heard a roar that probably came from landslides in the hills and Mount Rinjani.”
Dwikorita Karnawatim, who heads Indonesia’s Meteorology and Geophysics Agency, said buildings that haven’t collapsed so far have suffered repeated stress, and authorities have urged people to avoid both the mountain’s slopes and weakened buildings.
Sunday night’s tremor occurred on a different fault and was not an aftershock of the magnitude 7.0 quake on Aug. 5 that killed 460 people, damaged tens of thousands of homes and displaced several hundred thousand people.
The quake lasting five to 10 seconds also was felt in the neighboring island of Bali and as far away as East Java and Makassar in Sulawesi.
Quakes earlier Sunday caused landslides on Rinjani, an active volcano. Video shot by the Indonesian Red Cross showed huge clouds of dust billowing from the mountain’s slopes.
Rinjani has been closed to visitors following a July earthquake that killed 16 people, triggered landslides and stranded hundreds of tourists on the mountain.
Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago that straddles the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.