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What is 'MULTI APPING' and how does it affect the taxi and PHV industry?

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

Multi apping is the practice of using more than one app or platform to offer or accept taxi or private hire vehicle (PHV) services. For example, a driver may use Uber, Bolt and Ola at the same time to maximise their chances of getting a ride request. Multi apping is not illegal, but it raises some concerns about the quality and safety of the service, as well as the working conditions and rights of the drivers.

The Welsh Government has recently published a white paper on the Taxi and PHV Bill, which proposes to reform the regulation of the taxi and PHV sector in Wales. One of the key objectives of the bill is to ensure that all taxi and PHV services are safe, accessible and reliable for passengers and drivers. The bill also aims to create a level playing field for all operators and drivers, regardless of whether they use an app or not.

The white paper acknowledges that multi apping is a common practice among drivers, and that it can have both positive and negative impacts. On the one hand, multi apping can increase the availability and choice of services for passengers, as well as the flexibility and income opportunities for drivers. On the other hand, multi apping can also create problems such as:

  • Driver fatigue and distraction: Drivers who use multiple apps may work longer hours or switch between apps while driving, which can affect their alertness and concentration.

  • Passenger safety and satisfaction: Passengers who book a ride through an app may not know if the driver is also using other apps, which can cause delays, cancellations or confusion. Passengers may also have different expectations and experiences depending on the app they use, such as the quality of the vehicle, the fare calculation or the complaint handling process.

  • Data protection and privacy: Drivers who use multiple apps may mistake sharing personal or sensitive information about themselves or their passengers with different platforms, which may not have adequate safeguards or consent mechanisms to protect their data.

  • Compliance and enforcement: Drivers who use multiple apps may not follow the rules or standards set by each platform, such as the licensing requirements, insurance coverage or vehicle maintenance. This can create difficulties for regulators and enforcement agencies to monitor and enforce compliance across different platforms.

Possible future options to clampdown on multi apping include:

  1. Holding operators to account for cancelled bookings. Local authorities grant licences to operators in the expectation that they will fulfil the passenger bookings that they accept. The Welsh Government may wish to work with local authorities to take action against operators whose service falls below an agreed level.

  2. Limiting drivers’ freedom to use more than one app at once. For example, by requiring each vehicle to display the name of one company the driver will be accepting bookings through. Leeds City Council have a vehicle condition requiring the operator name to be written on the vehicle.


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