The law is quite clear. If you are a licensed private hire driver and you begin a journey without a booking, you are touting, you are also uninsured.
It is a requirement that for a private hire journey to take place, a pre-booking through a third party licensed operator must have been made.
It is the job of a licensing authority, to make sure every licensed private hire driver is made fully aware of all regulations before they are licensed to operate. In London, this duty falls under the responsibility of TfL's London Taxi and Private Hire (LTPH) directorate.
If you are caught touting by STC cab enforcement or the police, you will be arrested and charged. Sometimes the police will offer you an official police caution, which means are far as the police are concerned that is the end of the matter.
LTPH at present have a one hit and your out policy for touting, which means if you are charged and found guilty by a magistrate, you will have your license revoked. If you have chosen a police caution, it will be treated as an admission of guilt and LTPH will revoke your license.
This policy has been reinforced on a number of occasions in TfL notices.
But this statement has appears in the latest PHC magazine:
“Let’s be clear about something. If someone does accept a caution and we do revoke their licence, there is still an appeal process. I have personally intervened in cases where a driver has accepted a caution for touting and claimed that he had been mislead by the police. TfL accepted that he wasn’t fully understanding that he would lose his licence and that he wouldn’t have taken the caution if he had known. I intervened, looked at the case, looked at the background and his history and decided in his favour. I don’t want to go to magistrates’ court and I don’t want to spend money on lawyers!”
Yes let's be clear about something.
If private hire drivers are unsure of the most fundamental restriction they operate under, then the fault lies with their licensing authorities poor management and poor performance in educating the drivers in respect to their conditions of operation. In this case its LTPH.
No wonder touting and illegal plying for hire is out of control.
While we're on the subject of poor management and poor performance, perhaps Director of LTPH John Mason would like to make a statement about LTPH's reluctance to deal with Mr Gurdev Jassi's company Sky Express.
Many Licensed Taxi drivers ( mainly suburban drivers) have made complaints to LTPH about the companies continued disregard of the Private hire act that forbids private hire companies from using the words "Taxi, Taxis, Cab or Cabs" to advertise their services. The photos below were taken in Hillingdon Hospital and clearly show Sky Express using the words TAXI and Taxis.
To date nothing has been done about this contravention of the PH act.
We would also like to point out to Mr Mason that Sky Express is not a third party company that connect passengers with local services, they are licensed by LTPH as a private hire operator, ID 535: till 06/12/2016.