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ALL 98,000 minicab drivers should be given black cab licences IF UTAG win at court says ADCU

Updated: Jul 12, 2022

London’s Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) representatives say ALL drivers should be handed ALL LONDON black cab licences if minicabs are no longer able to pick up passengers through apps like Uber and Free Now.

The suggestion comes as London taxi drivers await the judge's decision after filing a legal challenge against ride-hailing app Free Now, over claims the taxi firm’s business model around ‘plying-for-hire’ is illegal.

Black cab representatives from United Trade Action Group (UTAG) have long argued that ride-hailing apps, like Uber, Ola, Bolt and Free Now, allow passengers to hail taxis.

Only licensed taxi drivers are permitted to ply-for-hire. Plying or standing for hire means taking a passenger to their chosen destination for cash without a prior booking in place.

If a minicab driver agrees to take a passenger without a booking already set up, the driver is likely to be deemed to have been ‘plying-for-hire’ and voiding insurance of the vehicle as a result.

UTAG have argued that digital hailing, the process used by app firms across the world, is not a pre-booked process and in fact an immediate hail that is only legally available to taxis.

The App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) have called on Transport for London (TfL) to GIVE licensed PHV drivers a ‘one time amnesty’ and provide all minicab drivers with a green badge with no further Knowledge of London testing.

There are currently 98,064 minicab drivers in the capital, and it takes on average three to four years to complete the Knowledge of London (KOL).

To drive a taxi and be hailed in the street, taxi drivers must have a thorough knowledge of London within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross. Tens of thousands of road names and places of interest must be learnt. This is why taxi drivers have to learn and pass the world-famous Knowledge.

In a tweet the ADCU said: “How should TfL Taxi & PHV respond to judgment?

“If UTAG lose TfL should not seek to recover costs given public/trade interest of case.

“If UTAG win & PH is outlawed, TfL would have to give 100k licensed PH drivers a one time amnesty & grant all a green badge with no further KoL testing.”

The ADCU continued adding: “It's an extremely worrying time. A UTAG win in this case, however remote the possibility, would be massively disruptive. We'd expect TfL to make PH drivers whole by normalising the PH license or pay eye watering compensation to those adversely affected by revocations.”


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