Carrying on from yesterday's post, we now turn to the commissioner's report (Sir Peter Hendy) to the board of TfL.
This report which will be published on Wednesday the 25th September and talks about an unexplainable increase in the number of applications for Private Hire licences.
The report states: "As of 17 August, we have recorded another increase in private hire new-driver applications with over 600 more applications than those received in July. There are no known reasons for this increase"
Is this for real, TfL/LTPH know of no reason why applications for new private hire licences are escalating.
And where do they think the work will come from to sustain these huge monthly increases in the private hire fleet???
Unbelievably, Hendy then goes on to praise the actions of his compliance team. In a three week enforcement activity around Paddington Station 61 taxi drivers have had their details taken to put forward for processing for "plying for hire". Not illegally plying for hire, but "plying for hire". Hendy's words not mine.
It's times like this which make it essential for drivers to belong to a Union or org, that can offer them the best full legal representation.
Finally in the small section of the report concerning Taxis and Private hire, he goes on to commend the actions of his enforcement team, for their first successful prosecution of a minicab driver, for illegally plying for hire. The first time since TfL took complete control of Taxis and Private Hire, over 13 years ago.
But that's not all....
Since the new system of licence renewals went live, many drivers have been told that due to administration problems causing delays in getting their new licences out, they would have to stop working, as to work while not being in possession of a bill is illegal. The issue of temporary licences have been stopped.
While drivers have had their right to work removed by this hold up in administration, hundreds of extra "new driver" Private Hire licences are being churned out, bringing in extra income.
This situation is scandalous.
It is TfL's policy that Taxi drivers can't work if not in possession of a current license.
It is also TfL policy that a Private Hire operator must be registered and in business for at least 1 year before a licence variation (Satillite office) can be issued.
BUT THAT DIDN'T STOP RD2.com GETTING 18 LICENCE VARIATION JUST DAYS AFTER FIRST GOING INTO BUSINESS
ONE RULE FOR TAXIS...AND A BETTER ONE FIR THEIR FREINDS IN PRIVATE HIRE.
Below is part of the text from the commissioners report for release on the 25th September 2013
3.4.6 Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing Service
The vehicle licensing service has now been live for six months and the service is being delivered by NSL in line with agreed service levels.
While customers appear very satisfied with the service, a customer satisfaction survey has commenced to gauge reaction across all six inspection centres. As of 17 August, we have recorded another increase in private hire new-driver applications with over 600 more applications than those received in July.
There are no known reasons for this increase. We are looking to introduce a way of recording reasons for new applications in the future to try and determine more key trends.
Compliance at Paddington On 21 July, a three-week enforcement activity commenced in and around Paddington Station, Harrow Road and St Mary’s Hospital.
As part of the operation, leaflets were distributed to taxi drivers to raise awareness of their obligations in complying with road signs, over-queuing beyond the end of designated taxi ranks and plying for hire. To date 61 taxi drivers have been put forward for processing for plying for hire.
Prosecution for Illegal Plying for Hire On 12 September we successfully prosecuted a private hire driver with two offences of unlawfully plying for hire and unlawfully accepting a private hire booking when not being a licensed private hire operator. His licence to be a private hire driver has been revoked by TfL.
This is the first trial of offences of plying for hire and illegal private hire operation and follows our robust approach to tackling illegal plying for hire and taxi touting. The Court found the defendant guilty of unlawfully plying for hire and taking private hire bookings not being a licensed private hire operator. He was fined £500 for each of the offences. We were also granted our full prosecution costs of £960.
"This is the first trial of offences of plying for hire and illegal private hire operation and follows our robust approach to tackling illegal plying for hire and taxi touting."
I find this sentence in Hendy's report insulting and repugnant.
Hendy has tried many times to give the impression that the level of enforcement is justifiable.
But latest publicised statistic on TfL's web site show that in the 3 months between January-March 2013, only 6 touts were convicted and had their licences revoked. But with the met police estimates (POP report 2012) of 25 minicab related serious sexual assaults including rapes weekly, I think TfLTPH are way off the mark.
So no PH drivers reported for illegally plying for hire in the bus lane at Swallow and Regent, but 61 Taxi drivers will be processed for "plying for hire" around Paddington Station.
Wonder what our man on the board of TfL will have to say about this in the next edition of Taxi a Mag.