The licence renewal debacle is still ongoing and unresolved.
Telephone calls are not getting through, emails are not be answered and drivers are being denied the right to work. At present, it is almost impossible to contact TfL for licensing queries.
TfL commissioner Peter Hendy, is still refusing to issue affected drivers, some of whom have been off work for many weeks, with temporary licenses as is the practise throughout the rest of the UK.
In a recent message posted on the London Taxi Drivers Forum, United Cabbies Group vice chairman Len a Martin said:
"If any of our members (who were members when the initial paperwork was submitted) and who have lost earnings due to this mess would email email@example.com with the details I will compile a list and submit it to our barrister."
It appeares the UCG are looking to take out a class action against TfL.
He also said
"If any other trade org has members affected and wish to pick up part of the legal costs contact me please and we'll share the cost to go for them.
This isn't about points scoring, this is about Taxi Drivers Not Being Able To Work Through No Fault Of Their Own."
In a follow up message today Len Martin stated:
I have just left a message on Helen Chapman's mobile and she has offered to assist in my particular drivers case.
BUT this is not going to deal with the issue in general. Stopping drivers working through no fault of their own is unfair
The issue is suspected to be motivational where the people on behalf of TPH, processing this paperwork are disillusioned and demotivated to get the new process right.
This is not our problem, we never asked for this, we never caused this, we were never consulted.
This lays fair and square with TfL/TPH to resource this properly.
If it's a motivational thing, thats for TPH management to deal with. If it's resources, then the threat (and indeed implementation of) a class action should focus their attention.
They simply must ensure they have enough bums on seats to deal with the systems and processes they implement. If not.... DON'T change it.
Taking legal action will help both us and TPH as Mr Daniels will have to find Helen the resources to deal with this. The buck stops with Mr Hendy.
Boris Johnson is just a politician, who will soon be gone, but Hendy/Daniels will not.
We don't want all the grief of having to do this and I'm sure TfL don't want all the grief of whats about to unfold. Lets hope common sense prevails and they draft in some people from other areas of TPHTfL who are capable of processing these documents.
TPH is the hold up, not the D&BS (Disclosure and Barring service). The UCG member informs me all documentation was confirmed correct on 5th Dec 2013 by telephone with TPH.
Below is the reply to the email published on Taxi leaks 2nd Jan 2014.
Dear Mr Thomas
Thank you for your email to Sir Peter Hendy CBE. I am responding directly to the further issues you have raised.
We fully appreciate the difficult personal circumstances a number of drivers are faced with because of the changes in the DBS Disclosure process and associated delays, and are aware that some licensing authorities in other parts of the country have chosen to issue temporary licences. However, TfL's first and foremost concern has to be the safety of the travelling public and the continued good reputation of the taxi and private hire trades in London and we will maintain our position of not issuing temporary licences.
During the lifetime of a licence, drivers are obliged to inform us of any charges, cautions or convictions. Furthermore, through the Notifiable Occupations Scheme, the police also provide us with relevant information. This provides the safeguard that, in the majority of cases, we can address these matters as we become aware of them and suspend or revoke licences as appropriate.
However, there are occasions when we do not receive this information and which justify our decision not to issue temporary licences in London. Since April 2013, we have identified three taxi drivers who have been refused licences (when renewing) for criminal history issues: two for violence and one because of benefit fraud. All three went to a personal hearing and the decision to refuse was maintained. A further six PHV drivers have been refused licenses: two for taxi touting, one for battery, one for being involved in producing a class B drug and one for driving while disqualified.
Whilst the majority of taxi and PHV drivers that apply for a licence are honest and present no risk to the public, a small number may at any time through the duration of their licence commit offences and fail to inform us. I hope you will understand from the cases outlined above why we are not prepared to take the risk of issuing new licences to drivers, even for a short period, until we are fully aware of their criminal history.
I hope you find this helpful.
Managing Director – Surface Transport