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Taxi reps ‘disappointed’ after judges REJECT plying-for-hire court appeal

Black cab representatives were left ‘disappointed’ after judges REJECTED a legal appeal against ride-hailing app Free Now, over claims the taxi firm’s business model around ‘plying-for-hire’ is illegal.

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

The group, funded by industry stakeholders and taxi drivers, plan to apply to the Supreme Court to appeal the decision.

Earlier this month UTAG 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.

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’, voiding insurance of the vehicle as a result.

A spokesperson said in UTAG statement: “The judgement was handed down today to confirm our appeal has not succeeded at the Court of Appeal.

“This case would likely have been appealed to the Supreme Court by the Respondents; therefore, it should come as no surprise to anyone that UTAG intends to apply to the Supreme Court to appeal this decision.

“We are naturally disappointed by the Court's decision, however, we remain steadfast in our view that TfL (Transport for London) licensed an operating model that allows PH (Private Hire) Apps to unlawfully facilitate PH drivers to P4H (ply-for-hire) through the use of technology, to the detriment of the taxi trade.”

UTAG Director, Trevor Merrells, said: “It is a very disappointing judgment .The judges seemed to be more focussed on the harm that it would cause PH, than the harm inflicted upon us.

“The bottom line is these judges took the view that the harm to us is irrelevant.”


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