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London taxi trade heading to a ‘one-tier system’ if industry doesn’t act now, warns taxi trade rep

The London taxi trade faces heading to a ‘one-tier system’ if the industry doesn’t act now, warns taxi trade representative.

Trevor Merralls, General Secretary of the United Cabbies Group (UCG), expressed his frustration and concerns in a series of posts on social media regarding the increasing challenges faced by London's traditional taxi drivers.

Voicing worries about the potential consequences, Merralls mentioned the possibility of a move towards a one-tier system in reference to the Welsh White paper, where many Welsh licensing authorities expressed a preference for transitioning away from the current two-tier system.

The UCG General Secretary urged the London Taxi Trade to confront these issues and defend their unique working practices and exclusive right to ply for hire (P4H). He emphasised the need to protect their distinct brand and not dilute it by using the same vehicles available to private hire (PH) drivers.

Merralls said in a series of posts on social media: “You can now ehail a minicab. We was told that you wouldn’t be able to hail minicabs. We came under the ‘Public Carriage Office’ but now they are telling us that minicabs are not working in our market the immediate market, actually we’re working in theirs the prebooked market.

“What’s the next thing they’re going to tell us? It’s absolutely ridiculous, it’s in plain sight the terms and language that’s being used. It’s unbelievable the extent that we’ve allowed this to happen. Unless we have the appetite to do something we’re heading towards one tier.

“In the recent Welsh White paper the majority of the Welsh licensing authorities were in favour of moving away from a 2 tier System to a One Tier System. The London Taxi Trade must face up to these issues and defend its working practices, and our sole right to P4H (Plying-for-Hire).

“We shouldn’t be asking for a level playing field, that assumes we do the same job, we do not. We shouldn’t be looking to water down our brand with the very same vehicles that PH (Private Hire) can buy. If we do not have the appetite to defend our trades working practices.

“Then the consequences of that will be , we become the most over qualified mini cab drivers in London.

“We should not acquiesce on the taxi trades arguments that are based on P4H. We shouldn’t be arguing on issues appertaining to the PH industry, which ironically is an industry that we’re not licensed to work in or represent.

“TfL have stood back and watched PH use tech to work in a way they were never licensed to work standing back and saying we’re lobbying government, techs blurred the lines is just dishing out insincere statements. Unless we do something it’s taking us to a regulated one tier.”


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