London’s private hire driver numbers are set to boom once COVID-19 lockdown is dropped in the capital.
In response to government announcements and efforts to delay the spread of coronavirus, Transport for London (TfL) introduced a number of contingency measures.
One of those measures included putting new applications for new taxi and private hire drivers on hold and not processing until “further notice”.
Whilst TfL’s Taxi and Private Hire officials are continuing with some critical activities, such as the processing of renewal applications to allow key workers to access licensed vehicles where necessary, a staggering 1,610 new private hire driver applications await when normal service resumes.
Just 4 new licensed taxi applications await assessment in comparison, however testing of the “Knowledge of London” has ceased until further notice.
In London there are currently 111,092 minicab drivers licensed in the capital.
The London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has repeatedly called on the government to provide new powers to cap the number of minicabs operating in the capital to help ease congestion and improve air quality.
According to a TfL statement: “Currently, if an applicant meets the statutory eligibility criteria, we are legally obliged to issue a licence. It is clear that more must be done to tackle congestion and air quality impacts, especially in central London where Private Hire Vehicles (PHV) now outnumber taxis during the day.
“The Mayor has called on the government to provide further legislative powers for us, so it can cap the total number of PHVs in London. In addition, we have altered the structure of licence fees paid by operators of different sizes to better reflect the costs of compliance and enforcement activity. This will provide further financial incentive for operators to maximise the efficiency of their operations and minimise the number of vehicles they use across London as a whole.”
According to Department for Transport (DfT) data collated in 2019 there was a total of 362,600 taxi and private hire drivers in England. Nearly a third of those licensed in the whole of England are minicab drivers licensed by TfL.