This year has seen unprecedented support from TfL towards third party companies, one of which has had a dramatic economical effects on our trade and other licensed Taxi trades around the country.
The biggest threat our trade has ever faced, has enjoyed a free hand to run riot over regulation and legislation laid down by Parliament.
New regulations have been bought in but many in the trade feel rules are being changed to facilitate an interested party at the detriment of established Taxi and Private Hire drivers of many years standing.
It's been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that regulations are being contravened everyday, and instead of enforcement followed by revocation (as promised by Sadiq Khan when campaigning for the job as Mayor), TfL and the Mayor's office, have resorted to actually changing and watering down regulating guidelines and in some cases, blatantly ignored current legislation.
From one TfL Managing Director, we've had the "Dear Jo" Email's, the covert un-minuted coffee house meetings, multiple lies -on-off insurance, Uber met all requirements when first licensed, Uber has a pre booking landline- told directly to the transport committee of the GLA....and this man unbelievably, still has a job at TfL?
When fake medicals and topographical tests came to light in the Sun News paper expose', TfL said they would no be taking direct action but would be more vigilant in 3 years time, when certain PH driver's licenses were up for renewal.
TfL's legal team, seem gutless to take on a large Private Hire operator whose philosophy is "it's easier to seek forgiveness than permission". So far, they appear to have gotten away with every rule they've broken and haven't had to seek forgiveness once. What message does this put out?
Funny thing is, this company state quite openly they are not a private hire operator but a tech company and they supply technology to the drivers who act as private hire operators. And yet TfL have chosen to licence the company as such and not the drivers.
Confused.....it gets much worse!
TfL director of legal Andrea Clarke and general counsel Howard Carter, last reviewed their advisory panel in 2012 appointing 11 new firms, including Dentons, Trowers & Hamlins and Lewis Silkin to a roster which also includes Berwin Leighton Paisner, Eversheds, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith Freehills, K&L Gates and Gowling WLG.
They now have a 200-strong legal team, comprising of 90 lawyers who handle TfL's core commercial work for operations which includes the capital that gets invested into the Underground, as well as diverting legal resources towards the office of the Mayor of London, the British Transport Police, the London Legacy Development Corporation.
Firms on the payroll also advise the greater London authority, which also comes under the remit of TfL. (So no conflict of interest there then!!!