Monday, May 23, 2016

Minicab Sexual Assaults, Could The Solution Really Be This Simple? Jim Thomas

Apparently, the biggest problem facing the public, in regards to London's Licensed Taxi trade (in the eyes of TfL), has been the refusal of drivers to accept credit cards. 
TfL in their infinite wisdom have acted swiftly by mandating drivers acceptance of all credit cards -including contactless payments- to be implemented in October this year.

In the eyes of TfL and the public... simple solution, problem solved. 

The biggest problem facing passengers in private hire vehicles at present, is customer safety. 
Reports from freedom of information requests, show from February last year to February this year, 154 instances of sexual assaults (including rapes) against passengers were recorded against private hire drivers. 32 of which the Met police were accusations made against Uber drivers. We must also be aware that the Metropolitan police state in their POP (Clapham) report, that over 60% of sexual attacks never get reported.

So what has TfL come up with as a permanent solution to this problem....they've  sat on their hands, with a bewildered look on their face, shaking their head. 
Paying people enormous amounts of money, doesn't guarantee common sense, they just haven't got a clue what to do.

As always, the solution could be very simple. 

Every Private Hire Vehicle should have two way CCTV fitted as part of their conditions of fitness. Some insurance companies are currently fitting systems at no cost to the owner. Every vehicle should have 2cm high easy to remember registration numbers, emblazoned on the dash, plus both front and rear windscreen. PHV drivers should also be subject to having their DNA taken for future cross-referencing. These measures would also protect the driver from false allegations

Currently PHV licence numbers virtually unreadable and almost impossible to ascertain. Seven digits in minuscule font, with 9 out of ten roundels hidden behind tinted screens. 

A simplified registration of three letters, followed by two digits (1,797,600 combinations) in 2cm high font (same as Taxi ID cards) facing the passengers bottom left of windscreen, should be an easy to remember reference. Combined with tamper proof CCTV  video, should see an almost immediately cessation in sexual assaults on passengers in legitimate Private Hire vehicles.

How is it that Taxis have to have the drivers badge number emblazoned on both front and back windscreens, in 2cm high font plus vehicle PCO pate numbers on back and in passenger compartment...having to be clearly visible at all times, and yet PH have small roundels with tiny digits, unreadable unless viewed up close and in the majority of cases, hidden behind tinted screens. 

With 99.99% of all passenger assaults, over the past 30 years having occurred in minicabs, how have these brainiacs at TfL managed to get it so wrong with vehicle identification?


Anonymous said...

Good ideas and fairly easy to implement. Which sadly means none of it will be adopted.

Sean Day said...

Preventative measures pose a barrier to entry for the driver.

If you consider the driver as the primary custome,r then it's easy to see how monetary interventions might negatively predetermine the decision of the potential buyer. Remember, 'collateral damage' was the term given to those that fell victim to the system. Apparently, casualties were foreseen, but were considered far less of a concern for investors.