Updated: Apr 27
A leading London taxi association has said it’s ’decision time’ for many cabbies using the FREENOW app, after it recently announced the inclusion of minicabs on its platform.
Earlier this month FREENOW, a mobile hailing app previously just for black cabs in the capital and other parts of the UK, opened up the platform to include its sister minicab firm Kapten.
The FREENOW merger will make both services available through a single app, and they say it has been undertaken with the aim to provide drivers with more passengers and develop a fleet of sufficient size to rival other ride-hailing firms as the number one market player.
However, the move to merge the two firms together has pushed the capital’s biggest taxi driver representatives, the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA), to instigate a survey to guide future policy.
Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the LTDA, wrote in ’Taxi’ Magazine: “Personally, I seem to recall hearing something similar back in 2014 when Hailo tried the same thing, and that ‘never ended well!’”
McNamara went on to say: “FREENOW are nothing to do with the LTDA and we are not connected with them in any way, and it is not mine, or the LTDA’s policy to tell self-employed and independent free-thinking cabbies what to think or do - but for many, this is decision time.
“In order that we can gauge our members reaction, we have sent a short survey via email, to help guide our policy on this going forward. At the time of writing we have received around 2,500 responses, and we will share both the results and outline our members thinking on the matter, in the next issue of Taxi.”
It was also a similar story when it came to rival app, Taxiapp, who called upon cabbies to “seize the opportunity”.
Taxiapp, which is run as a cooperative and does not accept corporate financing, has slashed membership costs to £10 per month during the COVID-19 period and has called for other drivers to join.
Taxiapp released a statement on social media, saying: “I am sure you have recently heard of FREENOW’s intentions.”
They added: “Now is the time to seize the opportunity and get our cabbie friends to get on board with Taxiapp, the opportunity for the trade has fallen at the feet of drivers once more.”
Header image credit: Pixabay