The indisputable and corroborable contempt that the Managing Director of surface transport at Transport for London (TfL) Mr Leon Daniels has the licensed taxi trade brings into question his ability to act with discernment when making trade associated decisions.
The unmethodical issuing 30,000 private hire licenses over a two year period (most of which facilitated the en-mass infiltration of smart phone instant hire car services) was reckless in the extreme. TPH TfL continue to issue 600 - 1000 PH licenses each week.
Calls for TfL to cap licenses Despite protestations by TfL, the law is innominate, in that no law exists that compels or prevents TfL from issuing licenses. The guidelines clearly state that if a person meets the criteria listed then they can then apply for a license.
The emphasis here is on 'applying,' which does not make issuing a license compulsory. Indeed, mitigating circumstances such as the inexorable increase in motor traffic congestion, and subsequent Pollution implications, should be deterministic factors for capping licenses.
In doing so, we openly accuse Mr Daniels of overstepping his brief by intentionally derestricting a market that already satisfied demand with supply. It is of my informed opinion also, that the stress level of those within the Trade is becoming infective, to the degree that depression could elevate to a serious organisational matter.
In stark contrast to the haemorrhaging of Private Hire licenses, taxi drivers are being denied their democratic right to earn a living due to insufficiencies delaying the renewal of taxi drivers licenses. This resolves around the huge backlog of completing DBS checks. In the main this has been exasperated by TfL issuing an insurmountable and therefore unmanageable level of Private Hire licenses.
Despite repeated requests, TFL have failed to resume issuing temporary licenses (Bill renewal) to taxi drivers. A driver who has completed the necessary paperwork, remunerated the relevant licensing authority, and is of previous good character, should not be denied the fundamental right to earn a living.
Current legislation of the 1987 Transport Act (sec 17, subsection 7) states; ‘Where a person holds a licence which is in force when he applies for a new licence in substitution for it, the existing licence shall continue in force until the application for the new licence, or any appeal under this section in relation to that application, is disposed of, but without prejudice to the exercise in the meantime of any power of the licensing authority to revoke the existing licence'.
This unnecessary delay a direct result an inept and inconsistent administration and is no fault of the driver, and nor should he suffer any consequence. Probably the most serious accusation. however, is Mr Daniels' blatancy in misleading the Taxi trade, misleading the public and misleading the GLA transport committee.
He has vehemently endorsed a commercial, off-shore, company which allows their drivers to illegally drive Private Hire vehicles, without the necessary Hire & Reward insurance. In the presence of the London Assembly, and recorded on video, Mr Daniels publicly stated 'as these vehicles are cars (PH), it's perfectly within the law to switch on and switch off the hire and reward element'.
This is a conclusive lie. Subsequent, clarity came from the National Association of British Insurers who confirmed that no such 'on/off' insurance existed. The demonstrable level of malevolence Mr Daniels has shown the taxi trade has placed the relationship beyond reparation.
More so, for a senior civil servant to put the safety of the public at grave risk - either with intent or deleterious ineptitude- makes Mr Daniels position at TfL is no longer tenable.
The trade has no choice therefore, but to request Leon Daniels’ immediate removal.