Drivers are now starting to receive the new style Licences and IDs.
Included in the pack are new style ID pouches with an indent, to make removal easier. The IDs have a slight pigment on the reverse, but once inside the pouch, the new pigment is almost unnoticeable.
the new drivers licence has a broken foil strip down the right hand side which unlike the one found embedded on bank notes looks like it has been printed on. The licence now carries the bar code which should match the ones found on the ID cards.
The driver's photo is slightly smaller than on the old licence and the word Taxi has been removed from the TfL roundel.
Unlike the previous new issue licence, you are reminded that it is an offence to refuse to carry a guide dog unless you have a specific medical exemption. The accompanying letter also states that the IDs are not to be tampered with, laminated or altered in anyway. Clear instruction is given as to where the IDs should be displayed.
From the 17th of November 2014, it will be mandatory to display the new identifiers and we are informed that any driver displaying old identifiers will be subject to compliance action.
I have never had a problem with displaying an ID to let the public know I am licensed for the area I'm actually working. But I feel uncomfortable displaying my badge number so prominently.
Why does our badge number need to be so large?
PRIVATE HIRE PARADOX
Clause 10 has recently been abandoned from the deregulation bill currently going through parliament. This would reflect the view that all over the UK (excluding London), it is deemed a huge safety issue and that only licensed private hire drivers should be driving licensed private hire vehicles.
Unfortunately for the traveling public in London, TfL say that anyone can currently drive a private hire minicab around the capital, whether they are licensed or not.
Because of this factor, it then seems incredible that the only mandatory notification on a PHV, to show that it is in fact a licensed vehicle, is an unreadable yellow roundel, that nine times out of ten is obscured by tinted windows.
Even though the Taxi trade have to have a purpose built vehicle, carrying both a registration number plate from the DVLA and also a TfL Hackney Carriage plate, it seems strange that we should also need our badge number emblazoned on the ID card identifying the driver.
Considering the security status we currently find ourselves in, only TfL licensed registered drivers should be allowed to drive minicabs. PH drivers should also be identifiable and should be matchable to a particular vehicle by means of their badge number, displayed on front and rear windows.
If it's good enough for Taxis...then it's good enough for PH.
TfL recently announced that PH driver numbers currently exceeded 71,000. A recent FOI request by Taxi Leaks staff, has uncovered that in the first six months of 2014, there were over 8,600 new PH driver applications granted.