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Merged black cab and ride-hailing firms look to topple Uber dominance

Black cab app Free Now and ride-hailing firm Kapten have launched a combined service intended to take the top spot from Uber in London and the UK.

The recently merged firms say the new app is the first to offer black cabs and private hire vehicles in London – with the largest electric fleet in Europe

The recently merged firms have launched their joint app under the Free Now brand and say the new solution has the fleet scale and the passenger base to become the number one market player with access to over 35,000 drivers using the app in London alone.

Users either need to update their existing Free Now app, if applicable, or download the app to get access to both black cabs and private hire vehicles on demand through a single app, said to mark a first. This includes access to Free Now’s fleet of electric vehicles – billed as the largest among all ride-hailing apps in any city in Europe. Around 40% of the company’s black cab trips are already taken in an electric vehicle.

As well as black cabs and PHVs, the firm is advising a number of London boroughs and local councils on the implementation of rental e-scooters, and will be rolling-out its own e-scooter rental service in the capital over the coming months, as it already has in a range of European cities.

In addition to its market-leading total fleet size, FREE NOW’s  supply of electric vehicles in London is the largest among all ride-hailing apps in any city in Europe. Around 40% of the company’s black cab trips are already taken in an electric vehicle. The new app will also ensure iconic black cabs are available to a wider user base across the capital.

Mariusz Zabrocki, general manager of Free Now UK, and leader of the new joint business, said: “As a result of Covid-19, the transport sector has changed radically and we’re seeing increased demand for personal modes of transport.

“We’re ideally placed to offer customers a convenient, safe and efficient means of travel, whether for work or to see friends and family. Our new, merged offering is also going to support drivers by offering a much broader passenger base and increasing the pool of customers they have access to, which will ultimately mean more business, after what has been a particularly tough time for drivers.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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