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Surge in ‘trivial and petty’ complaints affecting London's taxi drivers, says trade association

Updated: May 6

A surge in ‘trivial and petty’ complaints and licence actions against London's taxi drivers have been observed, says trade association.

In a recent editorial appearing in TAXI Newspaper, Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association (LTDA), highlighted a significant increase in minor complaints and licensing actions against London taxi drivers.

According to McNamara, complaints forwarded by Transport for London (TfL) have risen by over 25%. Many of these are categorised not as direct complaints but as queries into the drivers' "fitness to be licensed"—a practice that has become far more common than it was four years ago.

McNamara pointed out that the majority of these complaints are minor and should not impact the licensing status of the drivers. However, they still require formal responses, which he advises should only be made after consulting with LTDA's legal team.

Furthermore, McNamara reported a sharp increase in licence revocations and suspensions, with revocations up by 29% and suspensions increasing by a third. These penalties often result from minor traffic violations or failures to report incidents to TfL promptly—issues that previously did not result in such severe consequences.

The LTDA has successfully challenged many of these suspensions, either by presenting detailed evidence to TfL or through reconsideration hearings. Although some cases are lost at this initial stage, many are overturned on appeal in magistrates' courts.

McNamara said: “The number of complaints against drivers we have responded to has risen by just over 25%, but there is also a trend where many of them come through from TfL not as a complaint, but as a ‘fitness to be licensed’ letter, something that was extremely rare four years ago.

“The vast majority of these are trivial and even petty complaints. They are most definitely NOT anything to do with a member’s fitness to be licensed, but they do need to be responded to and it’s almost always better not to respond until you have spoken to one of the team.

“Licence revocations are up 29% and licence suspensions are up by a third! Most of these are as a result of drivers accruing points for very minor traffic offences and/or not informing TfL at the time, again something that never used to be an issue.

“We are able to get many of the suspensions overturned totally or the suspension period significantly reduced either through supplying detailed evidence to TfL or through a reconsideration hearing in front of a senior licensing officer at TfL where our members are always represented by one of our lawyers. Of the ones we lose at this stage many of these decisions are subsequently overturned when we appeal the decision at a magistrate’s court, but all of this is detailed and time-consuming work that previously we never had at these levels.”


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