Sunday, February 20, 2011

Badge Identifiers....

Well the question’s had to be asked.

The Suburban drivers are told that there are so many Suburban drivers being caught plying for hire outside of their sector and working in central London, and that this is why the Yellow Badge Identifiers is being brought in .

Can I therefore ask for a breakdown of all PCO/TPH Suburban drivers who have been caught working out of there sectors from December 2008 to December 2010:
1). where caught
2). what Suburban sector were they licensed for?
3). what action has been taken against the said driver’s and what courts did they have to attend?
4). what fines did they receive?
5). are there any driver’s still waiting to appear in court?
6). has any driver become suspended from working via the TPH.

Please see below answers (from TfL) to the questions you recently asked:

A proposal for identifiers for All London(Green Badge) taxi drivers to display in their taxi when working was included in the 2010 taxi fares consultation which was sent to taxi trade representatives for them to consider and comment on. The intention of the identifier is to make it clear which drivers are licensed to ply for hire anywhere in London and which are licensed to ply for hire in the Suburban sectors. The original proposal has been extended so that all licensed taxi drivers, Suburban and All London, will display some form of identifier, which is visible from outside of the taxi, showing the type of licence they hold. This will make it easier to identify and take action against taxi drivers plying for hire in areas they are not licensed for – this includes Suburban taxi drivers plying for hire in other suburban sectors they have not completed the Knowledge for.

At present all licensed taxi drivers must wear their taxi drivers badge when working with Suburban drivers wearing a yellow badge and All London drivers wearing a green badge. However, these badges are not clearly visible from outside of the taxi. All taxi drivers will continue to be able to work in the area they are licensed for and we do not see that there will be any infringement of the human rights of taxi drivers or restrictions on where they can legally work. In fact, the identifier will help law-abiding taxi drivers as it will stop Suburban drivers working in sectors they are not licensed for and have not completed the Knowledge for.

Unfortunately there are problems with taxi drivers working in areas they are not licensed for and in 2009/10 our Compliance Team reported 25 Suburban drivers for plying for hire outside of their area and a further 14 cases where reported to us by the Metropolitan and City of London police forces. So far in 2010/11 there have been 88 cases of Suburban drivers plying for hire outside of their area. Every case where a licensed taxi driver has committed an offence is considered on a case by case basis but in general where a driver is reported for a first offence of plying for hire outside of the area they are licensed for we will issue warning letter to the driver, with consideration given to suspending the driver’s licence if there are further offences.

Specific information regarding PCO/TPH drivers and we are currently retrieving this information - TfL will be able to advise on this shortly.

Tracy Jermy
PA/Caseworker to Tony Arbour JP Assemblyman for
Hounslow, Kingston & Richmond
(S W London) 

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

What Happened to the Grants?

PCO Notice 21/2003

Emissions strategy for taxis – Vehicle age limit

The Mayor of London is committed to improving air quality in the capital and taxis will be required to contribute to this. During consultation on the draft emissions strategy for taxis, trade representatives have recognised that taxi drivers will be among those who will benefit from an improvement in emissions and accept that taxis should play their part. The PCO is committed to delivering a strategy which achieves the Mayor’s objective whilst minimising any burden on the trade
In developing an exhaust emissions strategy for taxis as part of the Mayor’s wider Air Quality Strategy, the PCO has engaged in consultation with interested parties. In May a draft strategy was circulated for discussion which included a proposal that originated from the trade during consultation, that there should be an age limit on London taxis. At that time the PCO proposed that this should be 12 years, combined with technical measures to clean up older engines.
Consultation with the trade, particularly drivers and owners, has revealed a widespread dislike of this proposal but support for technical solutions for older engines. In the light of this, and because of the acknowledged durability of London taxis, it has been decided that no age limit will be imposed and that taxis of any age will be licensed if they continue to comply with the Conditions of Fitness and pass the PCO licensing inspection. Older vehicles may, however, be required to attend more frequent inspections to ensure that high standards are maintained.
Work continues on developing an emissions strategy for taxis and this will be published as soon as possible. It is likely to consist of a phased programme to achieve a progressive reduction in harmful emissions from the London taxi fleet. It is expected to start with the older, more polluting, pre-Euro vehicles and to then, over time, address Euro 1 and possibly Euro 2 vehicles. (All Metrocabs manufactured after 29 March 2000 and all LTI cabs manufactured after 1 February 2002 meet Euro 3 standards.) Cabs will be required to meet higher emissions standards if they are to continue to be licensed.
Options for meeting the specified emission levels would include fitting emissions reduction equipment, converting to LPG, being re-engined or replacement of the cab with a new, or more recent, vehicle. The Energy Saving Trust is currently identifying suitable technologies, their costs and effectiveness. Individual owners will wish to consider at the time the most appropriate option in their particular circumstances. The PCO is aware that new emission requirements are likely to impose some cost on vehicle owners and discussions are taking place with the Energy Saving Trust and Department for Transport to identify grants that might be available to offset the cost of such work.
The PCO is anxious to remove the present uncertainty surrounding this issue and, as soon as the details are finalised, will issue a notice indicating:

• the overall strategy;

• the specific vehicles affected by the strategy;

• the options available to comply with the strategy;

• the costs involved and grant(s) available; and,

• the timetable for implementation.

7 October 2003
Roy Ellis
Head of the Public Carriage Office