Friday, March 18, 2016

As expected, TfL Board Bottle It Over New Private Hire Regulations...by Jim Thomas

As expected, the board of Transport for London yesterday took a soft approved with plans to curb the soaring number of Uber cars and minicabs. 

New regs on Operator Fleet Hire and Reward insurance and curbing satellite offices with clipboard johnnies, we're not carried through.

Potential minicab drivers will now have to take basic English language and “Knowledge-lite” style geography tests before driving in the capital. The scandal of taking the test in the language of your choice with the answers to the questions in front of you, will now have to stop.

Although Minicab drivers face a crackdown on insurance requirements to ensure passengers are covered for accidents, TfL fell way short of introducing the requirement of fleet operator Hire and Reward insurance.

TfL have been failing public safety by allowing vehicles to be licensed without the correct insurance being in place. This was recently highlighted by an undercover operation by LBC. 

The TfL board approved most of the proposals to crackdown on minicabs at their meeting yesterday afternoon, but plans to scrap “men with clipboards” outside nightclubs who were licensed to provide minicabs have been put on hold.  

The Mayor has come under growing pressure to do more to curb London’s 25,000-vehicle strong Uber, which the black cab trade claims is driving it out of business.

Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the London Taxi Drivers' Association (LDTA), said the changes didn't go far enough.

He said: "TfL has wasted a huge opportunity to improve standards within the private hire industry for the benefit of drivers, passengers and other road users.

"The review of private hire regulations was aimed at improving passenger safety, and most of the proposals were sensible and endorsed by the LTDA.

"We are pleased TfL has committed to taking some of them forward, but as result of undue influence, TfL has not gone anywhere far enough.

"Introducing Hire and Reward operator insurance is the only way to categorically ensure that all passengers travelling in a private hire vehicle (PHV) in London are covered in the event of an accident.

"The failure to take this proposal forward means uninsured PHVs will continue to operate in the capital, putting Londoners at risk. The next mayor needs to address this issue as a matter of priority.

The number of private hire drivers in London has grown from 59,000 in April 2010 to about 100,000 today, contributing to congestion, pollution and illegal parking. 

Boris Johnson has previously failed to persuade the Government to allow him to cap the number of minicabs.

Watch the board meeting :>Click Here<

The video below was recorded in September 2012. He situation here hasn't changed and the open touting is still going on today.

    


The full list of proposals approved by the Board is as follows. :

·         Operators must have the facility to provide a booking confirmation to passengers containing the photo ID and details of the vehicle being used to discharge the booking where passengers are able to receive that information

·         Operators will be required to provide specified information to TfL at specified intervals including details of all drivers and vehicles registered with them

·         Operators must record the main destination for each booking before the journey commences

·         Operators to retain all records for a period of 12 months

·         TfL to control the names under which operators offer private hire services to the public

·         Private hire drivers to be required to demonstrate a certain standard of English

·         Individual licence applicants to provide National Insurance numbers to TfL

·         A driver's private hire vehicle licence to be considered for revocation if their private hire driver's licence is revoked

·         TfL will liaise with the Home Office on introducing DBS checks on private hire operator staff that have face to face contact with the public

·         TfL to stop accepting payment for licence fees by postal order and cheque

·         Drivers to carry or display a copy of insurance details at all times

·         Introduce new operator licence fee structure to better reflect operator licensing costs based on operator size. The specific revisions to the licence fee structure will be consulted on separately

·         Amendment of regulations to give TfL the power to control advertising displayed inside, from, or on the outside of a private hire vehicle

·         Operators will be required to notify TfL before changing their operating model

·         Operators must ensure that customers can speak to a real person in the event of a problem with their journey

·         Private hire operators must provide an estimated fare prior to the commencement of the journey

·         Hire and reward insurance will be required at the point of vehicle licensing, and for it to remain in place for the duration of the licence

·         Working with the Department for Transport to develop guidance on ridesharing

A decision has been deferred on proposal six, which stated that TfL will no longer issue licence variations to private hire operator licenses to add a late-night or temporary event operating centres. More work will be undertaken on this point.

In this statement from TfL, notice not one word about Fleet Hire and Reward Insurance!