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Private hire industry calls for ‘urgent dialogue’ with TfL over new signage proposal

The private hire industry has called for ‘urgent dialogue’ with Transport for London (TfL) over new signage proposals.

Key representatives of the private hire vehicle (PHV) industry have penned an open letter to Helen Chapman, TfL Director of Licensing, Regulation and Charging. Dated 13 December 2023, the letter expressed deep concern over proposed signage requirements for PHVs and called for immediate discussions.

This letter, which follows a prior meeting with senior industry figures such as Greg Mendoza, Jimmy Lazarou, Keith Keen, Steve Garelick, and Steve Wright, was seen as a formal request for 'urgent dialogue' on the topic.

The primary issue raised focus on new proposals for signage. These proposals, as understood by the industry representatives, would mandate the installation of multiple signs inside and outside each PHV following inspections by NSL, a service provider for TfL. This directive has caused widespread dismay within the industry.

The new signage will include PHV information about how to make a complaint to TfL, a no-smoking sign, a Cycle safety sign, a Pre-booked only sign, a seatbelt sign and a message advising passengers that abuse of drivers is unacceptable.

According to the letter, the consensus among industry stakeholders is that adding signage to PHVs could lead to public confusion, blur the distinction between taxis and PHVs, and potentially encourage illegal and hazardous activities by those exploiting such confusion.

The open letter signed by the Licensed Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA), GMB, Private Hire Board and The Chauffeur & Executive Committee, reads: “The Private Hire Trade Representatives are completely dismayed with the proposals for signage, which would appear to be a requirement for NSL to install multiple signs on the interior and exterior of each private hire vehicle following the inspection. This is a view universally shared by everyone we have spoken to in the industry, including the Driver Guides Association who could not attend this meeting.

“It has long been an accepted view that adding signage to private hire vehicles will confuse the public, narrow the gap between Taxi and Private Hire, and lead to illegal and dangerous activity by those seeking to exploit that confusion.

“The PH Trade Representatives have consulted with members and reviewed comments on social media from the industry in general, and it is clear there is a lot of anger being expressed that we feel will lead to issues for TfL Taxi & Private Hire (TPH) in the future.

“At this stage we feel urgent dialogue is needed, so we can calm the industry down and give you time for reflection on what we put forward in the consultation, which, with respect, seems to have been completely ignored.

“The political and media lobbying activity has already started, as there is already a furore on PHV industry social media channels and communications to the primary trade associations, we therefore feel the need for this to be an open letter, so our members know we are proactive on this problem.”


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