Taxi drivers in London are FURIOUS at new driver policy changes that could see their licences SUSPENDED or REVOKED for toting up just 6 driver’s licence penalty points.
According to the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA), regulators Transport for London’s (TfL) latest Taxi and Private Hire Driver Policy includes new policies on how TfL will treat licensed drivers and prospective licensees who receive penalty points and convictions for driving offences.
Under new rules, drivers who receive convictions for certain offences such as using a mobile phone or who tot up 12-penalty points on their DVLA driving licence will be at risk of having their TfL taxi licence revoked.
The changes include the following:
For an offence of driving without reasonable consideration, if the courts award 6 or more points, the penalty from TfL could be a licence revocation. If the courts gave less than 6 points TfL could issue a three-month licence suspension.
For an offence of using a handheld mobile phone, which carries a mandatory 6 points TfL could revoke a licence.
More than one conviction for a major driving offence within the last five years would merit a licence refusal and no further application would be considered until at least seven years after the most recent conviction.
Any driver accumulating nine or more penalty points will receive a warning that incurring additional points is likely to result in the loss of their taxi licence.
Licensed taxi drivers who accumulate 12 penalty points on or after 20 December 2021 will have their taxi licence suspended for six months regardless of whether they are disqualified from driving and lose their DVLA driving licence or not.
Steve McNamara, LTDA General Secretary, told members: “A ‘Major’ driving offence is defined as any single offence that results in 6 points. This could mean that a driver who was convicted of any offence and got 6 points and was then unlucky enough to get another offence for 6 points five years later, and long after the points had vanished from his DVLA licence, would lose his cab bill and not be able to get it back for 7 years!
“In a recent meeting with TfL, we challenged these drastic, draconian changes, which were frankly snuck through quietly with no proper consultation. I was advised that this is a "safety’" issue and that TfL take the safety of passengers very seriously. When I said that if safety was the issue, why had TfL not reinstated the enhanced driving test for all taxi and private hire drivers (the one that was suspended back in 2017 and consulted on in 2018, yet we were still awaiting the outcome), I was informed it was still "pending". However, these huge changes seems to have been made pretty much overnight, behind closed doors.
“TfL argue that the changes are all about holding professional taxi drivers to "a higher standard", but we believe that if a skilled, experienced magistrate feels that a driver is safe to be on the road, then TfL has no business saying otherwise.
“We will continue to challenge these changes through every means at our disposal, including in upcoming meetings with the TfL Commissioner Andy Byford and Deputy Mayor for Transport Seb Dance and wider lobbying, as well as through legal means.”