• We asked TfL on Twitter, are Via Van a licensed operator?
•We also asked if this was acceptable?..... and this was their reply:
"Yes Via Van is a licensed private hire operator what you witnessed was far from acceptable please report all you saw and heard to us by using tfl.gov.uk/tph.report."
Below is a video of just one of four of the Via Van employees. They were there for over half an hour and must have handed out hundreds of vouchers to people going into the Albert hall. All four were wearing T-shirts with the via van logo on.
It's clear to see he was standing right beside the Albert hall’s licensed taxi rank shouting repeatedly "free taxi". It’s blatant touting and misleading the public as Via Van don’t supply licensed taxis.
If TfL let them get away with this, what’s to stop other minicab firms doing this at major taxi ranks in London?
Under the terms and conditions of the Private Hire Vehicles Act 1998, Via Vans licence should be immediately revoked for touting in a public place.
TfL say they have passed this on to compliance, but also stress that should you see this happening, you should use the form on tfl.gov.uk/tph.report to report. Obviously, the more reports the better.
TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :
TfL haven’t got a great track record with this kind of touting offence. Uber were doing the same thing outside the Evening Standard Awards at tobacco doc. Many drivers took photos and complained but nothing happened.
Also, while John Mason was Director of TPH, a private hire company in league with Hewlett-Packard were giving passengers free rides home from ranks in central London. The company played advertising videos to the passengers on rout. Mason refused to do anything about it. They only gave up when confronted by flash mobs blocking them in.
We must all contact our orgs and make sure they complain about this corporate touting and make sure these complaints are followed up by TfL and not swept under the carpet.