Wednesday, April 09, 2014

After Yesterday's All Trade (Taxi And Private Hire) Meeting, TfL Releases Press Statement.

TfL invites trades to help shape regulatory framework for taxi and private hire apps

09 April 2014

Smart phone apps offer significant potential benefits to passengers, drivers and operators

Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed that it welcomes the use of taxi and private hire apps to benefit passengers, subject to those apps meeting the high standards of public safety TfL expects. 
TfL is inviting the taxi and private hire trades to provide their views on how the regulatory framework should be applied to this rapidly developing technology, while ensuring that the current highest standards of public safety and customer service in the trades are maintained.
The development of taxi and private hire booking apps offer tremendous potential benefits for customers. 

This includes enhanced safety and security measures - with many apps providing the passenger with a photo of the driver and their name, the registration of the vehicle and the ability to track both the approach of the vehicle and the remainder of the journey in real time.
However, the rapid pace at which smart phone based technology has been developing in recent years has led to a need for clarity about what is required in order for apps to comply with the regulatory framework in London. 

TfL is seeking to clarify that position and has asked the taxi and private hire trades for their input to formalise the regulatory framework and ensure there is a level playing field for all operators.

Leon Daniels, TfL's Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: `We welcome developments that make life easier for passengers. 

`As in many other areas of transport and retail services, apps can offer passengers the potential of better and more convenient services. 

`We are asking the trades to embrace these advances in technology, which have the potential to further improve London's taxi and private hire services, and have asked them to be part of the formal process to help shape the regulatory framework in this rapidly developing area.'
Constructive meetings were held recently with both the private hire and taxi trades on this issue. 

Discussions focused on the use of apps for private hire vehicle bookings, with TfL presenting its provisional views on the use of apps, which are as follows:

Apps can put a customer in touch with licensed private hire operators, either by signposting a customer to a choice of licensed operators or by transmitting a customer's data directly to a specific licensed operator.  Apps that deliver this service do not in themselves 'make provision' for the invitation or acceptance of private hire bookings.  Only a licensed operator can 'make provision' for the invitation or acceptance of a booking
While it is perfectly legal for an app to put a customer directly in touch with a licensed hackney carriage driver, 
any app that puts a customer directly in touch with a private hire driver without the booking being accepted by an operator first is illegal.  

Even if the licensed driver is also a licensed operator, the booking must be accepted at the licensed premises.  

A booking can not be accepted by a private hire operator in a vehicle or through a mobile phone on the street.  
Certain details, such as the date of the booking, must be recorded by operators before the start of each journey.  There is no obligation to record the main destination at the time of booking unless it is specified by the customer
There is no obligation to quote a fare when making a booking via a private hire app unless a quote is requested
Smart phones used by private hire drivers - which act as GPS tracking devices to measure journey distances and relay information so that fares can be calculated remotely from the vehicle - do not constitute the equipping of a vehicle with a taxi meter.

Further discussion with the taxi and private hire trades will take place in the coming weeks to help clarify the regulatory framework for this rapidly developing technology to ensure that the current highest standards of public safety and customer service in the trades are maintained.

Only a private hire operator licensed by TfL can make provision for the invitation or acceptance of, or accept, a booking for the purpose of private hire in London.  A licensed private hire operator has to meet a number of legal and regulatory requirements and is subject to regular compliance audits and checks to maintain public safety and promote a high quality service to customers.
Any private hire operator found not to comply with these requirements will be subject to action which can include the suspension or revocation of its licence.
Private hire apps may either direct a potential passenger to a choice of licensed private hire operators or transmit the passenger's request directly to a licensed operator who will then accept and record the booking and allocate a driver.  From TfL's perspective, the essential aspect is that an app facilitates a customer to be put in direct contact with a licensed private hire operator.  Any app that puts a passenger in direct contact with a driver for the purpose of a private hire is illegal and TfL will take appropriate action against the person responsible for the app.


Jim Thomas said...

We were recently told by John Mason, that Uber were granted an operators licence in 2012.
Knowing that Uber were operating illegally, why would TfL grant them a licence.

Today Leon Daniels answered that question.

"Only a licensed operator can 'make provision' for the invitation or acceptance of a booking"

Men ain't coming to kill us, they are already here!

Anonymous said...

So can i now except a booking out side of my sector because if PH can and greens can then why cant Yellows
there is no law on the statue books saying otherwise. Anyone

Editorial said...

device for calculating fare to be charged in respect of journey by ref to distance travelled or time elapsed or combi of both.

Anonymous said...

dont say that word yellow it winds people up..

Anonymous said...

tfl have totally missed the point ,they have dwelled on the fact a ph driver cant be in contact with the passenger why the f..k does that matter they will all just uber them selves up and away they go meter and all ,addison lee or should i say the carslyle groups 300million investment is looking a bit dodgy now where will they get drivers as i see it all ph drivers will get there own car and off they go working for multi apps inbetween touting GAME OVER

Anonymous said...

I think Leon Daniels thinks he is still working for the bus company - he bangs on about developing technology and customer service...he sounds like he really cares...


Daniels is a disgrace for throwing a word like custommer servive into the mix when he is in full suppprt of a blind eye agenda and the collateral damage that goes hand in glove with it!

Leon Daniels seems to forget the remit of LTPH is a licensing authority, there to regulate by existing legislation and laws which govern.

Any device that measures distance and calculates a fare at the end of a journey is a meter - but don't think by instructing lawyers and going to court that justice will be done...
There is every likelyhood the court will be a three ringed TfL circus - we all know how the judiciary ruled against the Ltda regarding the rickshaw issue!

Furthermore, could the Law Commission's delayed recommendations have anything to do with apps, Uber and the Carlyle Groups acquisition of Addison Lee ?
A 300 million investment at a time when legislation is under review would only make sense if the Carlyle Group had inside information.

I smell the acrid aroma corrupt and improper practice by TfF, but then again that is what TfL are... a law unto themselves - not fit for purpose!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Good points anon. Just some historical corrections the LTDA pedicab case was as you say lost because the LTDA did not appeal. Entirely coincidentally TfL appointed the LTDA general secretary to the board.

The LawComm is now old chipper with the deregulation bill and Uber,

TfL are the ONLY licensing authority in the western world NOT taking action on this matter.

Be sure wow ever that there are moves afoot at levels that the LTDA and LCDC can only dream about to defend the trade.


Anonymous said...

The LTDA AND LCDC do not have the balls to take on TFL there both yes men And TFL CANT RUN THE CAB TRADE END OF

Anonymous said...

Leon Daniels states: While it is perfectly legal for an app to put a customer directly in touch with a licensed hackney carriage driver.

At long last we have the correct definition of the law.

A hackney carriage driver is a person who holds a licence to drive a licensed hackney carriage vehicle, be they licensed by Transport for London as a green badge – yellow badge or provincial badge driver licensed by their individual licensing authority.

Now all that needs to be ironed out is this stipulation that the driver has to be in their licensed area at the time of acceptance by the driver.

Roll on the 23rd of May 2014.

Anonymous said...

Roll on all you like, Law Com will be shelved as deregulation bill is already going through parliament

Law Com, suburban review, T&PH consultation all been diversion.

And you mugs fell for it hook and sinker.

TfL must be creasing up to see the tweets about a cab with no IDs
Or YB over ranking on Putney "WITH THEIR LIGHTS ON"

And all the while, the plans to destroy us go through unchecked because of the fools taking our money to lead us into the shadow of the valley of death.

Well done you mugs

Anonymous said...

I am genuinely baffled at the selective understanding of some yellow badges.

I am a yellow badge myself but I have no difficulty in understanding that although I am a licenced Lindon taxi driver, I am only licenced to accept work when in the London boroughs stipulated on my licence. Accepting any work whilst outside the area I am licences for is contrary to the conditions of my licence and therefore I am not licenced to do this work and it is illegal,

How difficult is that to understand?

If a Brighton cabby pitched up in their sector and started accepting app work there would be hell to pay, or would they genuinely wind down their window and say "Fair play mate, your a hackney carriage accepting app work!!"

Like F**k they would!!!

Can't they see how stupid they make themselves look with posts like these? No wonder they GBs think we're all stupid!!

Anonymous said...

I also have difficulty with predictive text!!!

Anonymous said...

As a yellow badge driver you can accept a pre-booked journey anywhere in England and Wales.

Your licence only restricts you when you are acting as a taxi driver when your Hackney Carriage vehicle is plying for hire under the LONDON CAB ORDER 1934 Act.

A licensed taxi driver does not need an additional licence to carry out pre-booked journeys.

The Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 Sec 4
(2) A London PHV operator shall secure that any vehicle which is provided by him for carrying out a private hire booking accepted by him in London is—
(a) a vehicle for which a London PHV licence is in force driven by a person holding a London PHV driver’s licence; or
(b) a London cab driven by a person holding a London cab driver’s licence.

As a private hire vehicle and its driver cannot be zoned, neither can a London suburban taxi driver when carrying out pre-booked private hire journeys.

Two of the questions asked in the Suburban Taxi Licensing Public Consultation Radio and app bookings should never have been asked as the law allows this to happen already.

Q12 Should TfL introduce or amend regulations to allow taxi drivers to accept private hire, radio circuit or app bookings when outside their licence area?

Q13 Should TfL introduce or amend regulations to allow radio circuits and app providers to give bookings to taxis regardless of the taxi’s location (potentially constrained to the Greater London area) without becoming private hire operators?

You asked, If a Brighton cabby pitched up in their sector and started accepting app work there would be hell to pay. Why do you think the government asked the Law Commission to look into this in the first place?

Taxis operating as private hire vehicles outside their licensing area.

Licensed taxis can work as private hire vehicles in three main ways:
(1) with drivers acting as sole operators taking bookings directly;
(2) through a third party (unlicensed) taxi radio circuit taxi operator; or
(3) through a (licensed) private hire vehicle operator.

Therefore in a nutshell, any provincial taxi driver can accept and do, and so can you.

Anonymous said...

Editorial said...

Sorry Anon 9:23
We can not publish unsubstantiated emails that purport to come from a third party without being in possession of that email.

Please forward to our email address

We will hold your comment on file till we receive and will then re-post

Anonymous said...

Well, your nutshell is badly informed and I do hope you know what your talking about!

I was vexed by your insistence and sought advice. This is the response I got.

Thank you for your comment. I read it with interest as your understanding of the law that governs London taxis is not the same as ours and I hope that I can now clarify the position as we see it. Please be aware that I can only comment on licensing in London and I am not able to comment on the situation elsewhere in England and Wales where different legislation apples.

A London taxi driver is issued with a licence that allows him or her to ply for hire in a defined area of London. The licence does not allow for any other activity and there is no provision in the legislation governing taxi and private hire services in London that allows a taxi to be used as a private hire vehicle. Whenever a driver accepts a fare, whether from a street hail, through a radio circuit or via a smartphone app, he or she is deemed to be plying for hire at that point hence the need to be in his or her licence area. Furthermore, although licensed private hire operators can discharge bookings using a London taxi driven by a London taxi driver, the driver remains bound by taxi legislation and is plying for hire when accepting the booking.

Questions 12 and 13 in the recent consultation were asked in the context of this interpretation of the law and we believe they are valid considerations.

I hope that this clarifies our position.


Simon Buggey

This is who decides whether you work or not, so don't get caught!!