Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Transport for London 'woefully inadequate' over cabs. Report from the BBC.

TfL branded “woefully inadequate” at regulating Taxis and mini cabs

London's transport body has been criticised for being "woefully inadequate" when it comes to regulating the taxi and private hire industry.

A cross-party London Assembly report found fewer than half of passengers knew if a vehicle was licensed and 74% of rank spaces were north of the river.

It set out 19 recommendations for Transport for London (TfL) to consider including using signs to indicate licensed vehicles.

TfL said: "We do our best."

The committee used the answers from 1,000 passengers and 200 drivers to consider the industry which sees more than 25,000 taxi drivers utilising the "rank and hail" market and almost 71,000 private hire drivers offering pre-booked services.

Analysis from BBC London's transport correspondent Tom Edwards
I can't remember such a critical report from the transport committee. It is brutal.

It calls Transport for London "not fit for purpose", "woefully inadequate" and calls for it to "get a grips with the basics".

There aren't enough ranks, enforcement of touting is "outstandingly low" and industrial relations are rock bottom.

Most cabbies and private hire operators will feel vindicated with the findings.

The question is what are Transport for London going to do about it?

It found that touting was the "single biggest...issue" with enforcement numbers "outstandingly low" and fewer than half of passengers were able to recognise a licensed vehicle.

While 58% of those questioned said the presence of a TfL licensing sticker was reassuring, trade representatives said there was concern about counterfeit stickers.

The report also criticised TfL over the "recent furore concerning Uber", a mobile phone app, which "raised serious questions...about TfL's fitness as a regulator" and which many drivers feel is a company left un-regulated.

It said trade groups had major concerns with the perception that TfL had failed to present a robust challenge to Uber as it tried to change legislation to "suit its own business interests" and may have "opened the floodgates" for future challenges.

Caroline Pidgeon, chairwoman of the transport committee, said: 
"The interest in and focus on the arrival of Uber in London has become a distraction from some very serious issues facing the taxi and private hire industries."

Four of the 19 report recommendations
Apps should be developed to enable passengers to check the status of their driver, vehicle or operator
Options to incentivise the uptake of cashless payments
Ensure that disabled passengers' needs are met
Underground stations on the 24-hour Tube network have a taxi rank in place
"TfL's performance as regulator and enforcer has been woefully inadequate and the interests of the passenger are being largely ignored."

Concern was also raised about the provision for disabled people who found taxis did not always stop when hailed and some drivers refused to carry assistance dogs.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 
"The black taxis are one of the glories of the London transport system...and they deserve to be properly regulated."

Garrett Emmerson, TfL's chief operating officer for Surface Transport, added: 
"London's taxi and private hire services are the envy of the world and, under Transport for London's oversight, are thriving.

"The number of trips are up, customer satisfaction rates are high and, due to our stringent licensing processes and enforcement work with the police, journeys in taxi and private hire vehicles have never been safer.

"We will, of course, carefully consider the Assembly's recommendations. "

But Steve McNamara, from the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association, suggested more needed to be done.
"Londoner's are being let down badly. This report just about gets that right. We think we need a parliamentary inquiry."

Editorial Comment:
At the first ever RMT London Taxi Drivers Branch meeting in 2009, the first item on the agenda was a call for a parliamentary investigation into Tfl's handling of Taxis and private Hire. 

The motion was carried unanimously. 

It is a direct result of the work and lobbying undertaken by RMT members, that has brought this enquiry to bear.

And NOW, LTDA general secretary Steve McNamara joins with the long standing campaign by the RMT, to call for a parliamentary enquiry.

Better late than never I supposed, but it hasn't gone unnoticed that the LTDA's man on the board of TfL has stayed silent (again) on this issue.

Taxi Leaks hereby nominates John McDonnell for chair

We would also like to point out to Garrett Emmerson, that the London Taxi Trade is constantly voted the "Best TAXI Service" in the world, the jewel in the crown, not because of TfL but Inspite of TfL, a premium Taxi service that they inherited.

    Source: BBC news.


Anonymous said...

Absolutely nothing about the Taxi Age Limit from Caroline Pidgeon. I wonder why the Chair person of the GLA's Transport Committee doesn't want to challenge Boris Johnson's corruptly and improperly introduced policy that is decimating the trade?
She has all of the information, yet she continues to ignore the issue. I wonder why?

Jacqui said...

Maybe needs a proper management reshuffle

Mick Smith said...

I think the latest statement by Garrett Emmerson also shows contempt for Londoners that use the services of Taxi and PH IMO
How can he claim how well things are when the report states that relations with the licence holders and the licensing authority are "At rock bottom"
Than you TTT for the reporting
Mick Smith

Dizzy said...

Oddy has to go!

TfL have failed and as the trade's 'advisor' to the Mayor he has also failed.

This report is damning in the extreme for TfL. It says they are not fit for purpose. They must all go, but lets start with Oddy.

8 years he has been on the TfL board drawing approx £24k per year. In all that time he has only addressed the trade once, to thank TfL for withdrawing hundreds of cabs off the road without compensation because 12 TX4s went up in flames.

Hundreds of drivers were put out of work and he's 'thanking' TfL!

Jesus wept!

You would think this trade didn't have any problems the way he remains silent.

Anyway there is a poll on the LTDF asking if his position is now untenable?

As we speak it stands at 40-1 against him.

Feel free to have your vote.

Anonymous said...

Let's forget about the usual brownie point scoring process between the trade organisations and be thankful that at long last the trade's concerns are at long last out in the open and being discussed by those who can make a difference.
Emmerson's quoted verbal is an absolute disgrace but like others before him one must ask "Was he the scape goat" and told if he didn't say what he said then he could collect his P45 on the way out
Hendy and Daniels are conspecious by their absence. I wonder why?

Anonymous said...

Who is the one for?