Mobile Engagement

A minicab booking app which is seen as the start of a fightback against Uber launches today, with the promise of a three- to five-minute pick-up time throughout the capital.

Karhoo has signed up many of London’s biggest operators, including Addison Lee, as well as hundreds of small local firms and some leading black cab fleets, such as ComCab.

It already represents about licensed 30,000 cars, including 8,000 black cabs. Unlike Uber, the app allows passengers to book a ride at a fixed price set in advance, with no “surge” fares during periods of high demand. Passengers booking through the app will be quoted a price by all the companies in the area signed up to Karhoo.

Daniel Ishag, Karhoo’s founder and chief executive, said that the app would give Londoners the chance to book a cab for immediate travel “across the whole of the city, not just in Zone 1, but out to Zone 6”. He said he planned to extend its reach to the M25 and commuter towns.

Payment is made from the customer’s debit or credit card and Karhoo passes 90 per cent to the minicab operator.

Nicholas Monteith, the owner of Camden-based Mornington Cars, said: “Karhoo is a lifesaver for the classic, licensed minicab driver. It will help protect the minicab industry and allow us to fight back, bringing us jobs that we would otherwise not have been able to access, giving us the chance of more work, while giving consumers more choice. It allows us to properly compete.”

Mr Ishag said: “Karhoo is a game-changer, giving the generation the smartest way to choose and book a cab ride. We are giving hundreds of thousands of Davids the power and platform to take on Goliath.”

An Uber spokesman said: “Competition is a good thing for both consumers and drivers. Millions of people in 20 UK towns and cities love using Uber because they can get a convenient, safe and affordable ride – with a fully licensed private hire driver – at the push of a button. In London we have a range of choices including our new car-sharing option uberPOOL where a trip from Soho to Heathrow can cost as little as £24.”

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