New Prime Minister urged to push through a cap on London minicab numbers

Taxi representatives have urged the new Prime Minister to push through a cap on the number of London Private Hire drivers working in the capital. The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association are keen to push through the capping in the capital, something Boris Johnson himself lobbied for during his time as London Mayor.

Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the LTDA, said in an email to members this week: “We understand that originally there were no plans to give the Mayor the power to cap PH numbers, but with Boris as Prime Minister, we have written to remind him, and his newly appointed transport advisors, that he requested the very same powers when he was Mayor. “I am also scheduled to meet the senior civil servants responsible for drafting the bill shortly, where I shall make the point very clearly.” The current Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has also asked Government for powers to cap the number of private hire drivers working in the capital. This call followed similar action taken in New York City last year. In the letter sent back in August 2018 to the then transport secretary Chris Grayling, Sadiq Khan asked for powers to place a cap as the increasing number of minicabs, which he claimed left “many drivers struggling to make enough money to support themselves and their families.” Mayor Sadiq Khan said then that “urgent action is needed” as the rise in private hire number becomes “unsustainable”. Private hire driver numbers have risen from 60,000 in 2011 to over 106,000 present day. In the letter obtained by TaxiPoint in August 2018, the London Mayor wrote: “I am determined to create a vibrant taxi and private hire market in the capital, with space for all providers to flourish. However, as we have previously discussed, the huge increase in private hire drivers on London’s roads in recent years is causing increased congestion, polluting our air and leaving many drivers struggling to make enough money to support themselves and their families.

“In 2011 there were around 60,000 private hire drivers in London. This has now risen to more than 110,000 actively licensed drivers – a massive increase over this period. This rise in numbers is unsustainable and urgent action is needed to address it.

“Last week New York (Aug 2018) - which is facing similar problems with the significant increase in private hire vehicles on their roads - took the necessary step of instituting a year-long cap on app-based private hire companies. Unlike New York, I don’t have the power to cap the number of private hire vehicles in London.

“I am writing to again urge the Government to grant me that power as the Mayor of London - alongside appropriate restrictions on cross-border hiring, to enable Londoners, like New Yorkers, to breathe better air and live in a less congested city.
I know the Department for Transport has instigated a Task and Finish Group on private hire regulation which is due to report shortly. I urge you to publish this report as quickly as possible and act on its recommendations – including introducing any primary legislation that is required.”

Boris Johnson Image: Velislav Nikolov (Wiki Commons)