A professional body of black taxi drivers has taken legal action against ride-sharing app Free Now, claiming the taxi company’s business model is illegal.
The cab driver’s trade body, United Trade Action Group (UTAG), is seeking to argue that ride-sharing apps that allow customers to hail private hire taxis are acting illegally.
The body is set to argue that ride-sharing apps like Uber, Bolt and Free Now allow private hire taxi privileges that should only be given to hackney hacks.
Black taxi drivers will argue that laws prohibiting private hire taxis from “louage” – the act of cruising the streets for business – make ride-sharing app business models illegal.
In a skeletal argument seen by City AM, lawyers for the taxi drivers argued that the very act of driving “with the intent to meet a hail” is illegal under the Metropolitan Public Carriage Act 1869, unless the vehicle in question is a licensed vehicle. rental car.
Black taxi drivers are now seeking judicial review of Transport for London (TfL) licensing decisions.
The Skeleton Argument notes that, just as black cabs are subject to different rules than private hire taxis, they also enjoy certain privileges, including the right to “manage for hire”.
As noted in 2020, black cabs must by law be wheelchair accessible, must charge fixed fares and must be driven by a licensed driver who has passed the ‘Know London’ test. which has been a requirement since 1865.
Free Now has been approached for comment.