Updated: Jul 4
A local council faces embarrassing allegations of mistakenly issuing penalty charge notices (PCNs) to taxi drivers who had legitimate access to low traffic neighbourhood areas.
The incident has sparked disbelief among the taxi trade community and raised concerns about the council's understanding of what constitutes a taxi.
One of the leading experts on PCNs within the taxi trade, known as 'H' on social media, highlighted the issue, stating that it appears Wandsworth Borough Council struggles to differentiate between taxis and private hire vehicles (PHV). The controversy arose when 'H' appealed a PCN, providing ample evidence of the vehicle's status as a licensed taxi.
A photo of a TX4 taxi vehicle displaying advertising livery was taken by the council and then resubmitted as evidence on the appeal to argue the point.
Surprisingly, during their conversation with council representatives, 'H' discovered that council staff were unsure about considering the vehicle in question as a taxi due to its lack of traditional black colour, suggesting that it could potentially be a PHV or minicab.
Taxi trade PCN expert ‘H’ said on social media: “It would seem Wandsworth Borough Council can’t tell that this is a taxi.
“I appealed a PCN with proof that it’s a taxi but they came back and said the email address wasn’t from the keeper, so we’ve had to start again.
“The girl on the phone said this could be a mini cab as it’s not black.”
The incident has further highlighted the need for clear training and understanding to help the public differentiate taxis from private hire vehicles. The confusion adds to the frustration already experienced by London taxi drivers, who have been grappling with various road network challenges and traffic, to then dedicate further working time appealing incorrect PCN fines sent to them.