Johannesburg - There is a new player in the private taxi industry that plans to rival Uber and meter taxis.

Taxify, an Estonian-based taxi-booking service, will be available to people in Gauteng from Friday and plans to operate in other parts of the country as well as in Kenya soon.

It successfully operates in parts of Europe, North America and Central and South America.

Also read: Drivers slam 20% drop in Uber fares

Trevor Joseph, chief executive of Revnetek SA, the IT company that has the licence to operate the mobile-based application in the country, told The Star that Taxify would be similar to Uber, explaining that much like its competitor, users can download the app on their smartphones and will be connected with the closest driver.

“Taxify offers customers a range of nearby taxis, as well as the freedom to choose between the vehicle make and type, driver rating and distance to the pick-up.”

Additional options

But he said Taxify also offered additional options to users.

“Along with the added option of paying by cash or credit or debit cards, clients won’t be limited to smartphone connectivity to use the service and can still contact the Taxify SA National Call Centre, which offers the exact same service as the mobile app.”

The reason for this, said Joseph, was that there were still many people in the country who did not have smartphones.

Taxify was initially introduced to commuters in Joburg, Ekurhuleni, Pretoria and Cape Town last year with the aim of partnering with local taxi operators.

But Joseph said drivers were not happy as they didn’t want to be constantly monitored.

It was for this reason the service’s business model was remodelled to be similar to Uber's.

Users can download the Taxify Rider app or contact the call centre at 0861 829 439.

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