GMB Union calls on TfL to hold London minicab driver data to ensure passenger safety is enforced

A drivers' union are calling on Transport for London (TfL) to consider the benefits of taking on the responsibility of holding private hire driver data to ensure that passenger safety is properly enforced and not left open to operational breaches.

GMB London, a union for private hire drivers, say that they found the breaches of safety by Ola inevitable, and had advised TfL that the capital’s regulators should hold the information of licensed drivers to ensure passenger safety.

Last week TfL announced that global minicab operator Ola had been refused a new London private hire vehicle (PHV) operator's licence.

Ola has been operating in London since February 2020 and recently made TfL aware of a number of failures that had potential public safety consequences. These included:

  • Historic breaches of the licensing regime that led to unlicensed drivers and vehicles undertaking more than 1,000 passenger trips on behalf of Ola

  • Failure to draw these breaches to TfL’s attention immediately when they were first identified.

Steve Garelick, GMB London Region Organise, said: “I told TfL that they should hold all private hire driver’s information, not the operators only. This would give TfL full control of data and confirmation of probity.

“If this was happening, and it's not difficult, the public would see private hire looking more professional with public safety being the number one priority.

“For the small element of employers who continue to put greed ahead of other workers we show contempt as their actions damage honest workers trying to earn a living.”

Ola will have the right to appeal the decision not to grant a licence to a Magistrates’ Court within 21 days and can continue to operate pending the outcome of any appeal process.

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