The private hire operator, driver and vehicle regulations were made following the introduction of private hire licensing starting in 2001. TfL has identified a number of areas for consideration to ensure that they remain appropriate and fit for purpose.
The purpose of the consultation is to review various aspects of the existing policy and regulations covering private hire operators, drivers and vehicles, and to invite comments on proposals for change. TfL will then consider in the light of the responses to the consultation what, if any, changes to make to the regulations. The consultation will include:
- A review of the information required to be captured by a private hire operator before the commencement of each journey
- A review of licensing of ‘in-venue’ operators and associated requirements
- Bringing the regulations up to date in the light of advances in technology, where appropriate
- Proposals to cover temporary events licensing
- Proposals to restrict the number of trading names permitted to be used in private hire operator licences
- Proposals to explore and clarify the types of premises that constitute a suitable operating centre
- Proposals to harmonise the retention period for record keeping and making clear what records an operator is required to retain
- Proposals to implement an English language requirement for drivers
- Re-visiting certain aspects of motorcycle licensing proposals
- A review of records of private hire vehicles and drivers to be retained by licensed operators including clarification on insurance documents to be retained.
These are important issues for private hire operators and drivers and we will be inviting responses to help shape the future of private hire licensing in London.
It is anticipated that the consultation document and how to respond will be launched in Q1 2015.
What an insult!
TfL who continually bleat they are strapped for cash, are to carry out another expensive Private Hire consultation.
Let's remember what happened with John Mason's 2010/11 PH consultation.
The Taxi trade didn't get one proposal, yet PH were given nearly everything they demanded.
The recent GLA review branded TfL's running of Taxis and Private Hire as "woefully inadequate". The trouble is not the need for further/new regulations, but a need for TfL to administer the regulations already in place, fairly and without bias.
TfL licensing have bent over backwards, issuing satellite office licenses without the regulatory 12 month trading gap. We've seen archways, phone boxes, kiosks and caravans licensed as Private Hire satellites offices, which come complete with permission to unlawfully form ranks on double yellow lines, bus lanes, red routs in some cases even blocking TfL controlled cycle lanes.
We have seen the widespread issuing of suburban licenses, flooding certain areas with excessive numbers, with rank spaces in the suburbs given over to Private Hire. We've also seen the ease in which PHVs, Operators Licenses and Licence Variations can be obtained. We are now facing the threat that many tube ticket offices will shortly become PH booking offices.
Any consultation will again be a complete waste of time if the current level of enforcement we currently have is maintained. Touting by both licensed and unlicensed drivers is rife, illegal plying for hire is rife. The ease in which someone can come here from abroad and within days be licensed as a PH driver without a fully enhanced background and police record check is also unacceptable.
This latest release is a knee-jerk reaction in the same vein as the report about unlicensed driver convictions we reported on yesterday. PR spin, smoke and mirrors.
For us to return to anywhere near the level of trust and respect this trade had for the previous licensing authority administration we saw under the Met, would require the wholesale removal of top and middle management at TfLTPH who have, though their incompetent and bias performance, bought this trade to its knees.
Not one word in this release about enforcement, but hidden is the intent to make events, like the ones held at Old Billingsgate easier for PH to obtain temporary licenses. Also not included, the intention to make the requirements for pre booking clearer.
Tucked away in plain sight is the intention to make clearer the implications of new technology. Will we see a system such as CabWave, where cars have a reader on the windscreen and if a potential customer waves a credit card over the reader, it would serve as a pre booking?
This consultation must not be taken lightly and trade org legal departments need to go over every aspect forensically.
But the good news is, we have nowhere else to go but up.
2015 will see this trade fight like never before. Drivers will unite, not because of the collaborating orgs but in-spite of them. The rank and file have had enough. If driver orgs want our money, let them show us they earn it.
TfL have always feared a united trade fight back regarding the escalation of PH drivers and operators, that's why they concentrated on the divide and conquer regime known generally as the engagement policy. During the run up to the Olympics, we saw most trade leaders from the largest orgs like pigs with their noses in the trough, for a promise of engagement and a seat at the table.
Now the table has been folded up and taken away, they fight amongst themselves over the scraps.
If we are to unify over this level of adversity, we need assurances that collaboration and sell-out must never happen again.