London's transport bosses have called for new legislation to address safety concerns spanning the taxi and private hire industries after the rise in technological advances has led to a surge in cross border hiring.
A new report out today from Transport for London (TfL) says the transport body thinks it is common practice for drivers to apply for a licence in the capital, with no intention of working there. Over 700 London-licensed drivers live in Birmingham and 200 in Manchester.
Helen Chapman, TfL's interim director of licensing, regulation and charging, said the legislation governing taxi and private hire services is "no longer fit for purpose".
(Bit like he directors of TfLTPH after yesterday's news from Tim Fenton!)
The reforms we are proposing such as national minimum standards, national enforcement capabilities and the need for journeys to start or finish where the driver is licensed, are urgently needed to ensure passenger safety nationwide.
Currently, drivers of taxis or private hire vehicles can work anywhere in England once they have secured a licence with a licensing authority. Drivers can apply to get their licences in an area where they perceive standards are lower, though they may not intend to work there.
City Hall has said this has led to a number of issues across the country such as one authority licensing 1,000 drivers from their area, but more than 6,000 from other areas.
TfL's report says there is a pressing need to drive up national standards across the taxi and private hire industries, after transport secretary Chris Grayling asked the mayor to provide more detail on proposals to address cross border hiring.
TfL has been looking to lift standards, with the high-profile example of Uber's licence not being renewed last September, after the transport body said it wasn't "fit and proper".
Last month, TfL said current rules are failing to keep up with tech developments, and it was planning to make changes to get tougher on the likes of Uber and other ride-hailing firms. Rules being considered include clearer reporting methods for complaints and emergencies, and potentially women-only rides.
Today, London's deputy mayor for transport, Val Shawcross said cross-border hiring was "a serious national safety issue". She said:
It cannot be right that drivers can obtain a licence in an area where they believe standards are lower, and then go to work elsewhere in the country where they feel they can ignore enforcement officers. It’s potentially dangerous and must be stopped.
What Val should have said:
It cannot be right that a company TfL knew was illegal, has been allowed to operate illegally without a licence, and is being allowed to carry on operating illegally, by TfLTPH since 2013.
The Directors and managers who said nothing and allowed this operation to carry on operating illegally, should now be in court, facing charges of misconduct in a public office (malfeasance).
This is what Shawcross should be saying this morning, as evidence has been made available to the Mayor's office as well as TfL.
In his campaign manifesto, Sadiq Khan said, if Uber step out of line just once, I will be the Mayor who runs Uber out of town......?
What are you going to do now SADIQ???
Source : CityAM