Saturday, June 18, 2016

TfL Press Release : Important changes to Private Hire Regulation.

There are important regulatory changes that private hire operators, drivers and registered keepers of private hire vehicles are required to make over the coming weeks and months. 

These changes, which were approved by the Transport for London (TfL) board on 18 March 2016, are being made to raise standards in London’s private hire industry - improving safety and convenience for customers. 

The majority of the changes to the regulations will come into effect on Monday 27 June 2016 for new private hire licence applicants. However, existing licensees have been given more time to prepare for some of the more significant changes. It is vital that you prepare now. 

Please take the time to read the information in our notice – and the more detailed information at - carefully. 

One of the first changes, which comes into effect for existing licensees on 11 July, requires all private hire vehicles in London to have hire and reward insurance in place both at the point they are licensed and for the entire time the vehicle is licensed - including when the vehicle is not in use as a private hire vehicle. Details of that insurance must be carried or displayed in the private hire vehicle at all times while the vehicle is licensed as a private hire vehicle. 

Licensing action will be taken in cases where licensees are found not to be compliant with regulations. 

I will also be writing to you separately, by post, to advise you of these changes.  

Yours sincerely,  

Helen Chapman
General Manager, London Taxi and Private Hire  

Extra Comment from Tom Scullion:

At first glance the long awaiting changes to the private hire regulations look encouraging.

The salient points in brief:

As from 27 June all new applicants or renewal must have hire and reward insurance in their cars at all times

From 1 October existing will have to comply I don't understand why the existing drivers have this grace period maybe a legal notice period.

English language requirement for all new driver applicants by 1 October 2016 to B1 level standard

National insurance details by 1 October 2016

Private hire operators new operators must provide a booking confirmation to the passenger before their journey starts via email, SMS and MMS and text.

With the vehicle registration

Drivers first name

Drivers PHV number

Photo of driver

Provision of contact facilities

This require new operators to have a call centre 24/7 or the operating times of business this is to allow customers to telephone a call centre and speak with an operator in a London based operating centre to resolve passengers queries, complaints, lost property etc. serious and urgent issues should be reported to the police. A SME call centre would have at least 40 operators per shift at any given time 

or shift for larger companies with much more customers the number of call takers could run into the hundreds per shift.

Changes to private hire operating model 

Any changes to the operating model must be reported to Tfl.

Basic disclosure check for some staff

If staff who have face to face contact it's the public in a mini van office for example must have proof of a Basic disclosure check.

Uploading driver and vehicle details to Tfl 

As from 11 July 2016 new and existing operators must email all driver and vehicle details to Tfl.

Record keeping 

Extended from 6 months to a year.

Other requirements

Operators must provide their customers with an accurate fare estimate or set price before the journey starts could this stop surge pricing ? Operators must record the main destination before the journey starts.

These new regulations are welcome and far reaching it currently doesn't cover the massive problem with identity fraud the easiest way to address is fingerprinting for every Taxi and PHV driver. Also PHV drivers licensed with EU drivers licenses what would happen if we were to leave the EU? Advanced driving test here in the UK should also be considered. 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sadiq Khan, Caroline Pigeon and Val shawcross for keeping to their word and address the long overdue reform of the private hire regulations.

Tom Scullion.

Editorial Comment: 

Let's get one thing straight. These may have the appearance of new regulations, but it's not new legislation. TfL have always been able to enforce these regulations under existing legislation. But on the watch of Leon Daniels, Garrett Emmerson, John Mason, Peter Blake and Helen Chapman, they just chose not to. 

As far as these new regulations are concerned:

• The RMT London Taxi Branch were on this case in 2009, seven years ago but were excluded from the United Trade Group meetings by the LTDA, LCDC and Unite. TfL wouldn't meaningfully engage with any Taxi group or Union outside the UTG.

• The United Cabbies Group have been calling for these changes over the past eighteen month, but again were also excluded from the UTG, even though they were the second largest legitimate Taxi representative group. 

After just one meeting with the new deputy mayor, the UCG were able to get the engagement policy torn up. With the new broom sweeping clean, many of the old ways are about to change.

Unfortunately, the implementation of this new batch of regulations come too late for many Taxi drivers, some of whom have lost their vehicles, lost their homes, lost their marriages, with many leaving the trader altogether. We've even had suburban drivers who have been in such a sorry state, they have taken their own lives.

WHY have we had to wait so long under the United Trade Groups's representation, for TfL to do the job our licence fee pays them to do?

It's scandalous. 


Taxi driver said...

The reason for waiting so long is GREED by tfl & Giv it's all been about the money

Anonymous said...

Because certain people from the UTG and the RMT cab section were too busy forming cosy relationships and brown nosing Helen Chapman and John Mason.

One had aspirations of taking over from Bob Oddy on the TFL board and the other had delusions of grandeur about being a mediator go between for TPH.
Of course that all went belly up when Mason got terminated.

The first one became a born again activist who derides TPH as much as he dare - yet he still has contacts inside TPH who can get your DBS clearance to go back to work in 24 hours flat.

The wannabe mediator went on to be a flunky to the born again activist. He struts around like the naked Emporer in his new clothes, oblivious to the fact he is being used and made to look a fool.
Here edeth the lesson.

Be lucky.

Anonymous said...

Well that's as clear as mud to me????

Raymond's uncle said...

Anon 6:12 am
Ah you mean the RMT ship jumping rat, who wanted fame so sold out his friends and joined the Vichy mob.

Seymour Clearly said...

Please please please Anon 6:12, open the trades eyes so that we can all see the picture clearly, more lessons PLEASE.

Not MW said...

What earthly reason can they be to delay NI number requirement until October, that's very suspicious?

Anonymous said...

Can someone please name names and tell us what is going on as I have just got in from a seven hour session in me local and it all seems B###X to me!

Anonymous said...

Remember Uber are not private hire, they are ride sharing or something.

Anonymous said...

How is any of this likely to help the taxi trade? The public haven't and don't give a toss about any of this, if they did they wouldn't have been using them in the first place. To much focus on regulating "them" when the reality is the public choose to use them, it's not compulsory.
Just read a few London forums with any mention of taxi's and you won't find much love.

Anonymous said...

those who until now have failed to uphold the rules, are still in their highly paid jobs - WHY?

is there no way that they can be held to account?

Anonymous said...

and how about:

not allowing, Blacked out windows
the PHV Roundslls being CLEARLY displayedj
with LARGE numbers
& also,