Private-hire vehicle (PHV) service, Kapten, launched today in London taking a witty swipe at rival Uber with a new ad campaign calling the US company out for avoiding local taxes. Overnight, the out-of-home campaign went live with the wording “Others avoid paying VAT in the UK, that’s not uber cool” appearing at several media sites across the capital, including Leicester Square.
Unlike their rivals, Kapten pay their taxes locally in every market that they operate in, contributing to local communities and economies. Uber however, has come under fire for paying little tax to the UK government and avoiding VAT on top of their service fee due to their Dutch tax location. Uber had an estimated £1bn of ride bookings in the UK in 2018. If 20% VAT was added to its 25% commission, the UK Exchequer would get an additional £50m per year. The Daimler- and BMW-backed firm, Kapten, first launched in France in 2012, quickly becoming a major player in Paris, one of the most competitive markets in the world. Now the company has expanded into London, with an official TfL licence, following successful launches in Lisbon and Geneva. Serving zones 1 to 5, the app-based service is launching with a 50%-off offer on rides. After the launch, Kapten’s everyday low pricing will mean fares are on average 20% cheaper than the competition. Kapten trips in the congestion charge zone will be at least £2 cheaper than Uber due to congestion and clean-air fees.
Kapten also offers a fixed-price guarantee on rides, so contrary to other private-hire services, you always know the exact price of the ride before you book a trip. The traffic and the time it takes to reach your destination will not leave riders out of pocket.
Regular riders will also benefit from their unique loyalty programme that will see users earning free rides, rewards from partners and enhanced referral bonuses. For the past three months, the local Kapten team has been screening and training face to face thousands of private-hire drivers in onboarding centres across London. The programme is being run by a local team of professionals with strong industry knowledge and experience. All Kapten’s driver partners have completed TfL’s rigorous licencing process. Kapten’s partner drivers benefit from exclusive offerings, including the company covering the congestion charge for the rest of 2019 and additional rewards for plug-in hybrids and electric cars. Mariusz Zabrocki, London General Manager of Kapten, says: “There has been one dominant, over-confident ride-hailing player in London and it’s time to shake things up. We believe London’s private-hire drivers, commuters and residents deserve better. Each time a Londoner takes an Uber ride, 60p is lost that could finance the NHS, schools and other parts of the UK economy. Kapten’s mission in London is to provide safe, reliable, hassle-free, affordable travel for everyone and to celebrate launching in London we’re giving customers 50% off all rides for a limited time only.”