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Taxi driver retraining schemes would be at the discretion of the police, not TfL, says Mayor of London

Updated: Jun 10

The Mayor of London rejected the idea of taxi driver retraining schemes for cab drivers with points on their licence, suggesting that’s a role for the police and not a regulator.

Earlier this year, the Mayor faced a pressing question regarding the treatment of driving offences by taxi and private hire drivers as part of a Mayor’s Question Time (MQT) written question.

Caroline Pidgeon, a Liberal Democrat’s London Assembly Member, raised the issue, questioning whether Transport for London (TfL) should consider more flexible options for handling driving disqualifications, especially in light of hardship pleas that sometimes sway court decisions.

Pidgeon’s inquiry touched on a critical policy: TfL's additional six-month penalty for drivers who accumulate 12 penalty points through the totting-up procedure, irrespective of court rulings that might allow these drivers to retain their licences due to mitigating circumstances. She proposed alternative measures such as probationary licences, speed awareness courses, or additional driving tests to help drivers improve their standards without an outright revocation of their licences.

In response, the Mayor emphasised the importance of maintaining high driving standards for public safety. Licensed taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers, who carry the public, are held to stringent expectations. While a single minor offence typically wouldn't lead to licence revocation, TfL closely monitors driving records to assess a driver's suitability to continue holding a licence.

Licensing decisions by TfL were said to be meticulous and consider the full context of any driving offences. Before final decisions are made, TfL reaches out to licensees to gather any mitigating evidence they wish to present. This process ensures that each case is judged on its unique circumstances. After a decision, taxi drivers have the right to request a reconsideration by TfL and to appeal to the Magistrates’ court, while PHV drivers can take their appeals to both the Magistrates' and Crown courts.

The Mayor also clarified that driver retraining schemes are within the police's remit, not TfL's. These schemes, designed to improve driver skills, are offered based on police discretion, highlighting a clear separation of responsibilities between law enforcement and the transport regulatory body.

Sadiq Khan said in full: “Licensed taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers are responsible for carrying the public. They are therefore expected to demonstrate a high standard of driving in the interest of public safety.


“A single occurrence of a minor driving offence would not normally result in the revocation of a driver’s license. However, all current driving endorsements will be shown on an individual’s DVLA driving record and will be taken into account, since a poor driving record may raise doubts about a driver’s fitness to continue to hold a license.


“Licensing decisions are taken on a case-by-case basis and when considering licensing action in relation to a driving conviction(s) Transport for London (TfL) writes to licensees to ask whether there is any mitigation that they would like TfL to consider before a final decision is made.


“After a licensing decision has been made, legislation provides taxi licensees with the right to request that TfL reconsiders the decision and an appeal to the Magistrates’ court. PHV drivers have a right to appeal to the Magistrates’ and Crown court.


“Driver retraining scheme courses are run by specially trained teams and are offered at the sole discretion of the police. TfL is not responsible for deciding whether a driver should be eligible for such schemes.”


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