PHV PLATES, POOR ENFORCEMENT & ‘GHOST TAXIS’: Taxi reps say TfL should better enforce current policy
Black taxi representatives have suggested Transport for London (TfL) should better enforce current licensing policy before creating more.
The United Cabbies Group (UCG) has voiced its concerns to Transport for London (TfL) during a consultation aimed at gathering feedback on proposals to improve safety for taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) passengers.
In a report published by TfL, the comments made by UCG shed light on several key issues raised by industry stakeholders and the public.
According to the report, a total of 31 industry stakeholders responded to the proposals, which were divided into three parts by TfL. The regulatory body, responsible for the capital's transportation, plans to provide an update on the first part of the proposals this Autumn.
In its response, the UCG raised concerns about the need for additional measures to enhance public safety. They questioned why TfL does not adhere to national standards already set by the Department for Transport (DfT) for PHVs.
As an example, they suggested adopting the practice of other licensing authorities outside of London, where PHVs display a plate indicating their PHV status, the licensing authority, and the number of passengers the vehicle is licensed to carry. They also suggested signage indicating that the vehicle is for pre-booked hires only, which would validate the hire and reward insurance.
Another concern raised by the UCG was the lack of enforcement of taxi ranks in central London during night-time. They claimed that it is common practice for PHVs to park on or near the ranks and allow passengers to board without a prior booking.
Furthermore, the UCG expressed worry over the prevailing practice of app-based PHV operators operating as a "ghost" taxi fleet without adhering to the training requirements imposed on licensed taxi drivers. They highlighted a blurring of the two-tier system by TfL through the licensing of these operators.
The comments made by the United Cabbies Group shed light on pertinent issues surrounding the safety of taxi and PHV passengers. As TfL continues to evaluate the feedback received during the consultation, stakeholders and the public will eagerly await the updates and measures aimed at addressing these concerns in the interest of improving overall safety standards in London's transportation network.
In the TfL published report it revealed the UCG said:
“Taxis are easily identifiable by the green or yellow identifiers, which have the driver's badge number on, in the front and rear windscreens. They said that any passenger can request to see a driver's badge, which drivers are required to wear, and if necessary ask to see their licence which drivers are required to carry.
“Suggest there are additional measures that should be considered to enhance public safety and asked why if the DfT introduced national standards TfL do not adhere to these for PHVs. For example, outside of London PHVs have a plate attached to the vehicle which clearly says PHV, the licensing authority who issued the licence and the number of passengers the vehicle is licensed to carry. Or signage saying be 'pre-booked only' in order to validate the hire and reward insurance.
“Concerned that they see no enforcement of taxi ranks in central London and it is common practice at night for PHs to park on or by ranks and allow passengers to get in with no booking.
“Concerned that the vast majority of PHVs are operating as a 'ghost' taxi fleet via technology and showing their availability on mobile phones, without having done the training that gives them the rights and privileges taxis have and that there is a blurring of the two-tier system by TfL through the licensing of app-based operators.”