- Consultation launched to review suburban taxi driver licensing arrangements
- Key themes include licence areas, driver numbers, island ranks and sector extensions
- TfL keen for views in order to shape future policy
Following a Mayoral manifesto commitment to deliver a suburban taxi action plan and to address concerns of the taxi trade, Transport for London (TfL) has today (14 February) launched a consultation on suburban taxi licensing and is urging both ‘all London’ and ‘suburban’ taxi drivers to submit their views on a number of issues.
TfL is keen to hear from both drivers and taxi users, especially those in suburban areas, to help form future policy ensuring drivers can continue to match the demand for the world class service they provide. This consultation identifies options for changes concerning licensing, the number of suburban taxi drivers, taxi ranks and booking processes.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “Cabbies in suburban areas face a unique set of challenges and they rightly want their voices to be heard. At the last election I made a clear pledge that we would listen to what the taxi trade has to say and that is precisely what this consultation is all about. The overarching aim, of course, is to deliver a better suburban taxi system that benefits drivers and the passengers they carry expertly from A to B.”
The first stage of this review of suburban licensing involved two TfL-facilitated workshops attended by working taxi drivers. The workshops provided TfL with many views and ideas from the taxi trade as to the key issues they identified and what changes could be made to better support them. Through these workshops and subsequent correspondence with attendees and other licensees, TfL has received a wide range of ideas which have helped to form the basis of the consultation paper.
The proposals contained in the consultation are based on feedback received from the taxi trade and cover key themes including:
· Suburban sector structure: Examining the rationale behind the current structure and exploring alternatives
· Knowledge of London: Addressing the barriers that the Knowledge creates for suburban drivers who want to add sectors or become an ‘all London’ driver
· Driver numbers: Reviewing recent trends and looking at the arguments for and against restricting driver numbers on either a permanent or temporary basis
· Taxi ranks: Explaining the process for appointing ranks, the difficulties surrounding the process and current initiatives
· Improving supply of taxis in central London: Addressing suggestions from the trade that would allow suburban drivers to work in central London at specific times or places
· Island ranks and licence area extensions: Reviewing existing measures introduced to improve taxi supply on the periphery of central London and exploring a formal structure for extending this strategy
· Radio and app bookings: Examining the current restrictions on suburban drivers and exploring options for change
Helen Chapman, TfL’s General Manager for Taxi and Private Hire, said: “It is vitally important that passengers can continue receiving the incredible service from taxi drivers that they have come to expect. Equally, we want to ensure taxi drivers are able to continue making a living and that we are flexible and able to meet the demands of the trade. This consultation allows taxi drivers and passengers to put forward their views to help shape future policy and we are eager to hear their views.”
The consultation is running for eight weeks and ends on 11 April 2014.
Please click the link below to read or download a PDF copy of the consultation.
Sourced from CTN cabtradenews
EDITORIAL COMMENT: Danger Ahead.
The Government response to the Law Commision Review is that they would prefer to do away with different zones inside licensing areas, this would includ areas such as our own suburban zones.
Paragraph taken from Government response
The Government does not favour the creation of zones within a licensing area. They are generally an inefficient way of operating which causes frustration to passengers (who cannot understand why they cannot hail a cab licensed by their own local authority just because it is in a particular part of the district) and add to the administrative and enforcement burden of licensing authorities.