Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hewlett Packard Free Taxi Service: The Mayor Replies to Taxi Trades Complaints.

Dear James,

I have now received a response to my question to the Mayor.
Please see below.
If I can be of any further assistance then please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Kind regards,

Promotional taxis
Question No: 1488 / 2012
Navin Shah

I was contacted by a taxi driver angry about a Private Hire Company offering a 'free' "Taxi Service" from selected "Taxi Stops" in Central London having been hired by Hewlett Packard as a promotion for their new laptop. When I contacted TfL about this I was advised that TfL was issuing guidance and advice to avoid any future misunderstandings. I would be grateful to see sight of this advice and guidance and would like a list of who this has been sent to.

Written response from the Mayor

A number of taxi drivers contacted TfL regarding this week long Hewlett Packard promotion which included a free courtesy shuttle service to a number of locations while passengers experienced their new lap top. The service provided was incorrectly reported in the Evening Standard as a free "taxi service".

TfL investigated the circumstances of the "service" and it was apparent that the activity was to promote their new laptop, rather than offer a traditional passenger transport service. Passengers were not paying any money for the service and, in line with guidelines issued by the DfT to licensing authorities such as TfL, they concluded that licensing was not required. While the Private Hire operator concerned used licensed vehicles and drivers, they were firmly of the view that the service did not require licensing by TfL.

The guidance you refer to was verbal guidance issued to the Private Hire operator concerned requesting they check with TfL as to whether licensing is required prior to entering into any arrangements such as this in future.

Navin Shah AM
London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow
London Assembly Labour Group
City Hall
The Queen's Walk
London SE1 2AA