Transport for London (TfL) licensed over 500 new private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers in just week as the car-lead minicab recovery gathers pace.
In comparison, just 1 new taxi driver was licensed in the same week. In was however a net loss for the Hackney Carriage drivers with 26 black cab drivers hanging up their badge retiring from the industry.
The continued boom in minicab licensing, since pandemic restrictions were dropped, has seen the number of PHV drivers rocket up to 101,472. 516 of those were added to London’s already congested roads this last week alone.
It costs £124 for a TfL PHV driver's licence, which equates to over £63,000 in just one week for the cash strapped regulators.
TfL and the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan have long stressed their wish to avoid a ‘car-led recovery’ from the pandemic. However, since April 2021 the regulator has licensed over 8,000 extra minicab vehicles to be used on the capital’s road network.
Currently, if an applicant meets the statutory eligibility criteria, TfL are legally obliged to issue a licence. The Mayor has previously called on the Government to provide further legislative powers, so it can cap the total number of PHVs in London.
Last month a private hire union has called TfL’s recent spike in minicab licensing ‘reckless and relentless’ as concerns for driver welfare grows.
The union said that the burst was however good for Uber and other ‘big money operators’.
An ADCU spokesperson said via social media: “TfL Taxi and PH’s reckless and relentless expansion of private hire driver licensing is bad for workers, bad for passengers, bad for public transport and bad for the environment.
“It only benefits Uber, other big money operators and TfL's own finances. We need some reality at City Hall.”
Anyone thinking of becoming a private hire driver in London should however be aware of new licensing requirements that now apply since 1 April 2023.
These new requirements are designed to ensure that all licensed private hire drivers are able to communicate in English at an appropriate level and have an understanding of safety, equality and regulatory matters.