January 24, 2018 / 9:05 AM / a year ago

Car service Addison Lee challenges rivals with global app bookings

An Addison Lee minicab drives through central London, Britain September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - British premium car service Addison Lee said customers will be able to book journeys using their app in over 100 cities from Wednesday as it invests in $90 million worth of new vehicles in a global expansion drive, rivaling the likes of Uber.

The firm, which catered mainly for business customers in the British capital just a few years ago, has sought to widen its appeal and began operating cars under its own name in New York last year as it branches out from being a London operator.

Just five months ago, customers could only use the app to book journeys in London but the firm has been adding cities to reach the more than 100 locations available including Paris, Berlin and Beijing, focused on Britons traveling abroad.

“We’ve effectively taken a high-quality network of affiliates around the world in 100 cities and we’ve digitized them,” Chief Executive Andy Boland told Reuters.

“That really talks to an international traveler demographic who wants to be able to join up car services,” he said.

Addison Lee competes with UberBLACK [UBER.UL], the taxi app’s luxury service, transfer service Blacklane and in New York with executive transport firms such as Carey.

The company will invest in over 2,000 vehicles as it increases the number of drivers it has in London by around 20 percent to 6,000 by the end of the year and reach 1,000 in New York by Easter.

The firm, London’s second-biggest private hire operator, had its license renewed until the end of February 2023 earlier this month, whilst Uber was deemed unfit to run a taxi service by the city’s regulator, a decision which it is appealing.

Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Stephen Addison

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