with regards to the APPG inquiry in to the taxi trade and the future, I feel that the feeling of, and the actual demise lays squarely at the feet of the regulating authority. whilst only being a licensed taxi driver a short while, I have worked in other fields where regulatory authority was weak and many things were ‘let go’ until it was too late (remember the LIBOR scandal and the sub prime crisis both a result of, at the time, weak regulation).
Well, as i see it the taxi trade is currently resembling the general public who have suffered through the aforementioned scandals/crisis. We have a regulator who doesn’t regulate, apart from heavy handedness towards the licensed taxi trade.
How can it be right senior members of our regulator have vested interests in other forms of public transport (namely private bus companies)?
How can it be that a current board member had huge interest in credit card payment systems and shortly after the compulsory mandate joins TFL’s board? and how is it that individual self employed drivers were told which system they had to install and pay transaction fees way above market rate? As a regulator they should ensure drivers are fit and proper and offer the facilities anything beyond is, in my opinion, outside the boundaries of their role as regulator.
There is talk that plying for hire needs to be defined, well it has been defined many many years ago, NO PRIVATE HIRE CAN BE SEEN TO BE AVAILABLE FOR HIRE, NOR CAN IT BE PARKED UP NEAR ANY VENUE WHERE THE PUBLIC MAY THINK IT IS AVAILABLE FOR HIRE. Apps are basically eyes, apps showing available private hire in a certain area are in fact plying that car for hire through their app, or the driver is plying for hire using the platform whichever way you wish to look at it, but whatever way you look at it, IT IS ILLEGAL.
there needs, with immediate effect, a total cap on the number of private hire on the streets, various reasons, but mainly London is choking to death through the congestion, and increasing the traffic by up to 600 vehicles every week obviously doesn’t help the matter, also London is beyond saturation point it will damage the economy if all these drivers can’t earn a wage and therefore start claiming benefits, coupled with our regulator licencing companies that avoid VAT and Tax, well you don’t need to be a mathematician to work it out.
Also cross border hiring needs to stop, drivers working outside their licensing area it not safe for the public whatsoever.
The criteria for private hire drivers needs to be raised, minimum 3 years residence in the U.K, thus enabling the licensing authority to obtain a full DBS certificate, full U.K driving licence to be held and an advanced driving test passed.
we seem to be in a situation where our regulator wishes to lower the standard to suit the masses rather than make the rest of the industry raise their standards to that of the worlds best taxi drivers, who are loved and revered around the world, but not by its own regulator it would seem.
As an integral part of Londons transport system licensed london taxis should be granted access to all bus lanes, this may in some way help reduce congestion, in my opinion they are failing as a credible regulating authority and if the Mayor cannot make the changes that are required, then the TPH trade needs to have its own autonomous regulator.
apologies for the length but as you must be aware by now there are many many issues affecting the taxi trade
Paul van Nuland