Wednesday, December 28, 2016

TfL Have Updated Their Website With Changes To Private Hire Regulations


Here we have TfL informing the trades, of the new regulations from July 2016, have "finally" been added to the Private Hire Vehicles act 1998. So, not only are TfL about to scrap the requirement for an advanced driving test for Taxi drivers, looks like they are watering down PH reg's as well. Sort of deregulation, by stealth.
The say that their website has been revised to show the new regulations. 

Reading through the new reg's, is like reading through the script if a new sit-com and in the words of the trades regular stand up comedian, "You just couldn't make it up". 

Taking them in order as they appear on the TfL website:

PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLES

1. HIRE OR REWARD INSURANCE 
(Honest, thats what it says on their website ??? I've looked everywhere online and can only find "hire and reward". Perhaps this is another one of Leon Daniels' mythical policies, in line with his fictional on/off insurance that looks like it's going to make a come back, further down these regs)


All private hire vehicles must have hire or reward insurance in place both at the point they are licensed and for the entire time the vehicle is licensed, including when the vehicle is not in use as a private hire vehicle.

What this means for you:

If you are a new applicant or are renewing your vehicle licence,
(Get out clause no1, if you were licensed before October 2016 and don't have continuous HR insurance, this appears to be ok?
you will only pass your vehicle inspection, if you have hire or reward insurance in place at point of licensing.
(Again hire OR reward, is that just one of the two Leon)
You also need to have your hire or reward (Again) insurance available for inspection when you take your vehicle to the vehicle test centre. If you do not have the appropriate hire or reward (Again) insurance in place, you will not be issued a new or renewal licence.

If you are an existing licensee, hire or reward (One more time) insurance must be in place at all times the vehicle is licensed. 
If you fail to meet this requirement, you may face licensing action.

(And now for the get out clause no2)
This does not prevent you from having periodical hire or reward insurance (such as a weekly, monthly or quarterly policy), as long as there is no gap in the cover for the duration of the vehicle licence. (Got that?

If you are found not to have valid hire or reward (somebody tell them) insurance while the vehicle is licensed as a private hire vehicle, appropriate action will be taken which could include the revocation of your vehicle licence, and if you are also a licensed private hire operator and/or private hire driver, we may also review your fitness to hold that licence.

To support the introduction and compliance of this "new regulation", 
(Get out clause no3, this is TfL admitting they've been allowing PH to licence vehicles without hire and reward in the past, never mind nonexistent on off policies, just completely off) 
we are increasing the number of insurance checks we carry out.

2. SIGNAGE 
Signs or advertising material must not be displayed on or from a private hire vehicle,
(Get out clause no4
unless they are exempt or approved by us, and no advertising material may be displayed in the vehicle unless in accordance with our requirements.

What this means for you:

This is a change from the previous regulation, which did not allow signs or advertising material to be displayed on a private hire vehicle. The amendment to the regulations means that you can also no longer display signs or advertising material on or from a private hire vehicle "unless it is exempt or we have approved it", and no advertising material may be displayed in the vehicle unless in accordance with TfL requirements.


Our taxi advertising and PHV signage guidelines provide more information on these requirements. 

(Wait for it)
Note that these are currently under review.

3. PRIVAT HIRE OPERATORS BOOKING CONFIRMATION
Private hire operators must provide a booking confirmation to a passenger before their journey starts. 
(Get out clause no5, notice the word Pre-Booking, the bookings that Uber don't do,  doesn't appear in the revised regulations)

What this means for you:

The operator must provide a passenger booking confirmation before the journey starts. The operator is expected to request passenger contact information and offer to provide a booking confirmation for all bookings.

All operators must (at a minimum) be able to provide a booking confirmation to passengers via email, text (SMS and MMS) message and phone (regardless of what booking channels the operator offers). The booking confirmation must contain, as a minimum: 
(Get out clause no6, the requirement for an operator to have a landline has now been removed)

The vehicle registration mark
The first name of the driver
The driver's private hire licence number, as shown on the ID the driver is wearing
Where the passenger can receive it, a photo of driver.
Where the customer books in person or by landline phone, a photo must be provided if the customer requests confirmation through a communications channel that can provide an image, for example an email or smart phone.
(Is this TfL advising prospective passengers not to use a landline?)

4. PROVISION OF CONTACT FACILITIES
In Notice 10/16 (June 2016) we "indicated" that existing licensees were required to comply with this condition by 1 October 2016. 
(Now the big get out clause no7)
In light of the ongoing legal proceedings, licensees are not required to comply with this condition before either: (i) the conclusion of the proceedings or (ii) further relevant developments in the proceedings. 
We will provide a further update, should the situation change. (Don't hold your breath)

5. CHANGES TO PRIVATE HIRE OPERATING MODEL
The form of this requirement has recently changed,
(allegedly uber didn't like the way it was worded
though it remains unchanged in substance. 
Private hire operators must notify TfL of material changes to their operating model that may affect their compliance with the statutory and regulatory framework for operators or any conditions of their licence.

For further information, Notice 17/16 (November 2016) and our page on changes to operating models include the types of changes you need to notify us about, the ones you don't and details about where to send notifications.

6. BASIC DISCLOSURE CHECK FOR SOME STAFF 
Operators are recommended to ensure that all staff who have face-to-face contact with the public (for example, in a minicab office with public access) have - or have proof they have applied for - a Basic Disclosure check, which is available through Disclosure Scotland.

The requirement for private hire drivers to have an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check remains.

Find out more about applying for a Basic Disclosure.

What this means for you:

We recommend that all affected staff apply for their Basic Disclosure check as soon as possible.

We will issue guidance for operators to assess Basic Disclosures that they receive; however, it is ultimately the operator's responsibility to ensure that staff members are fit and proper to undertake their duties. Failure to do this or to give appropriate consideration to the results on the disclosure may raise questions about an operator's fitness to hold a licence.

(So operator staff who deal face to face with the public just need a basic disclosure. I said this would make you laugh!)

7. UPLOADING DRIVER/VEHICLE DETAILS TO TfL
Operators are required to provide us with details of the drivers and vehicles they have used to fulfil private hire bookings, or have had available to them to fulfil bookings in a specified period. We use the information provided for data analysis. We have contacted operators individually to confirm arrangements and frequency of providing the information.

Each Monday, all operators are required to provide the relevant data for the preceding week. When the Monday is a Bank Holiday, the data can be sent the next day.

The data should be sent to: TPHOperatorDataShare@tfl.gov.uk
(I can hear the excuses now, "didn't you gat my email then, it might be in your span folder")

8. RECORD KEEPING 
Operators must keep records for a minimum of 12 months. This includes records for bookings, complaints and lost property, as well as driver and vehicle records.

What this means for you:

This is a small change from the previous regulations, which requires some records to be kept for six months and others for 12 months.

9. OTHER REQUIREMENTS 
The following requirements apply:
Operators must provide their customer with an accurate fare estimate before the journey starts (unless the fare has been pre-agreed). 
Operators must record the main destination of the customer's journey, before the journey starts. 

Where a journey has multiple drop-off points, a main destination must still be provided. 
(TfL bending the rule a bit and greasing the path for UberPool and yet p they put up so many hurdles to discourage the Licensed Taxi Maxxi app)

Operators are limited to having no more than five business names attached to their operator's licence.

Not quite earth shattering, but expect these new reg's to be amended and changed again in 2017 when Uber decide they don't fit in with their global operation. 

Every day we are getting pushed further and further away from our right to rank and ply for hire 

From FaceBook post. 

7 comments:

colin said...

If you are a new applicant or are renewing your vehicle licence,
(Get out clause no1, if you were licensed before October 2016 and don't have continuous HR insurance, this appears to be ok?)
you will only pass your vehicle inspection, if you have hire or reward insurance in place at point of licensing.

So why did Tfl not do the same for the C/C in Taxi's,when you are up for re licensing you must have a fixed terminal in the back,not this Dec 31st crap that some of the suppliers have no terminals to fit.

Anonymous said...

Possibly because there's no one one the TfL board with financial interests in hire and reward insurance,
but there is board members with interests in CC payment systems. Don't forget it was a done deal!

Gary said...

Good grief. Friend of mone works for Royal Mail. Long story short TfL threw a very old post box in the skip during roadworks and contacted saying it needed replacing. He explained it was a Victorian post box and shouldn't have been touched. He then had to spend the next hour explaining to Transport For London WHAT VICTORIAN MEANT!!!

Corrigan Roy said...

TfL say 'Operators are recommended to .......' and 'We recommend ......' which are more get out clauses!! Why haven't they said 'must' or are 'required to'?

G Cluer said...

So can you now get your vechile licensed with a week/monthly cover note instead of a full years hire and reward certificate . How are they meant to check that a minicab has proper insurance

Anonymous said...

it's taken them and our orgs 18 years to realise that hire and reward insurance isn't even mentioned in the PHV act 1998.

The act is still full of holes

Carlo said...

They've used wording like 'We recommend that operators..............' and 'It is recommended........' wide open to abuse!