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TFL ISSUE WARNING: All Private Hire Operators warned to take ‘IMMEDIATE ACTION’ to make changes

Updated: Dec 30, 2022

Transport for London (TfL) has warned ALL Private Hire (PH) Operators to take ‘IMMEDIATE ACTION’ to make changes to their terms and conditions and ensure compliance.

The warning follows a recent High Court judgment that ruled London PH Operators should contract directly with passengers in the interests of public safety. Operators must also ensure that passengers have appropriate legal recourse in the event that something goes wrong during a private hire journey.

In a Notice released today, TfL’s Taxi and PH General Manager, Graham Robinson, said: “It is essential from a public safety perspective, as well as in terms of regulatory compliance, for operators to ensure that their terms and conditions with both passengers and drivers comply with the law as confirmed by the Court.

“Just over three months have passed since the judgment was given and by now all London PHV operators should have reviewed any terms and conditions and considered whether any changes are needed. Some operators may have already made changes and others may be in the process of making changes.

“We have contacted the largest operators as well as those with imminent licence renewals since the Court’s judgment was given to ensure both that they are aware of the judgment and that they are taking steps to ensure compliance.

“We plan to publish guidance to help operators better understand the judgment, its implications and what is needed to comply with it. We will also look to publish FAQs covering some common questions we have been asked.

“We also plan to make a new regulation that will require all licensed London PHV operators contract as principal with the person making a PHV booking to provide the journey which is the subject of the booking.

“Operators should satisfy themselves that they are compliant and take appropriate advice, where necessary, to ensure compliance.

“We expect all operators to take immediate action to make any changes to their terms and conditions and ensure compliance, where they haven’t already.

“Operators should not wait to be contacted by TfL before ensuring they are compliant and should be prepared to demonstrate compliance, upon request, at any time.”

In a landmark December 2022 ruling, the High Court Administrative Court refused Uber’s application declaring its gig-economy business model must change.

The ruling followed Uber seeking a declaration from the High Court that it is lawful for Uber’s drivers to continue to contract directly with Uber’s passengers for transport services. Uber had argued that its role was confined merely to that of an internet booking agent and that it was not party to any contract for the provision of transport.

The App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) said at the time that the misclassification had been used to shield operators from employer liability, legal liability to their customers and for payment of VAT.

The ruling will now fundamentally restructure the private hire industry in London as almost all TfL’s 1,800 licensed operators have used this model of operation since the industry first came under regulatory supervision in 2002.


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