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London taxi drivers raise concerns as regulator fails to implement new tariffs

According to trade sources a formal complaint to regulators Transport for London is to be made regarding the “tardiness of implication” surrounding this years taxi tariff update.

Grant Davis, Chairman of the LCDC, published the open letter written by fellow committee member, Micky Walker, which highlights the loss of earnings experienced by drivers due to the regulators continued delay to implement the 2018 taxi tariff.

The letter is supported by all trade groups in London who reside on the “Taxi Trade Tariff Group”. 

The letter reads:

Dear TfL

We are writing to make a formal complaint in regard to how the taxi tariff has been applied and the tardiness of implementation.

The Taxi Cost Index (TCI) has worked well for more than 30 years. It reflects cost increases over 12 months and adds national average wage inflation to produce a change (usually an increase) that is fair to taxi drivers and passengers alike.

With regard to implementation, it has traditionally and consistently been applied at the beginning of April by present and past regulators. We quote TFL papers directly in regard of this which stated “Taxi fares are normally revised every April…..They normally change on the first Saturday of April but are sometimes deferred by a week when Easter falls on the first weekend of April.”

TFL complied with these practices up until, and including, the 2014 increase. In 2015, due to a very small tariff change (0.1%), the change was deferred to 2016.

In 2016, the tariff change took place on the correct date but the TCI was manipulated. A combination of an insufficient award to cover drivers’ total credit card costs and structural changes to the tariff, resulted in the tariff being reduced rather than increased by 1.6% as the TCI indicated.

In 2017, the tariff change was introduced on 3 June rather than the correct date of 7 April. Thus, 25% of the increase indicated by the TCI was lost due to the tariff change. When the trade group met with TFL in late 2017, we asked for this reduction to be taken into account in the 2018 increase and pointed out that there is a precedent for doing so since TFL took charge of regulation. This was refused.

In 2018 the decline in standards continues. We expressed our serious concerns with the cavalier way TFL were treating the date of the tariff revision. When we met TFL in April, it was already past the due date for implementation.

To date, we have no indication of when the 2018 increase will be implemented, although it is clear that it will be at least six months late. Considering that since the last review, fuel has increased by more than 20% and the price of a new taxi by approximately 40%, the 2018 review is out of date before it has been implemented.

We complained formally to Tom Moody and Darren Crowson at that last meeting and asked for the award to be increased to cover the tardy implementation and were refused. We asked for a timetable of procedure to be made available in order that we could ascertain that tariff changes would be made timely in the future. We were informed that not only would that not be possible but were forewarned that due to bureaucratic changes, the 2019 tariff change will be even later than 2018.

That being the case, over three years, more than half of the increases indicated by the TCI will be lost due to late implementation. Frankly, this is not good enough and taxi drivers should not be seeing their income reduced significantly due to either the ineptitude and/or indifference of the regulator.

We demand some form of recompense for this and a timetable of events that ensures that all future tariff revisions will be implemented on their due date. We look forward to your response.

Yours Sincerely,

The taxi trade tariff group (LTDA, Unite, LCDC, RMT, UCG, HUTG)

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