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TfL missing ‘GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY’ by ignoring taxi and PHV safety concerns in latest survey

Updated: Mar 5, 2023

The GMB union is ‘hugely disappointed’ that taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers have not been invited to contribute with their own experiences and concerns in the latest TfL consultation which is primarily centred on passenger protection.

The union says London’s PHV and taxi drivers are routinely the objects of verbal and physical abuse and theft, some of which can be brutal. These are the experiences of drivers who undertake this precarious work, who in many cases are unable to find alternative and suitable safer work.

Whilst serious injury is rare, it does happen and that is why GMB says that PHV and taxi drivers have much to contribute and must be consulted if this public service is to be safer for all.

The union says TfL should not be prioritising passenger safety before the driver’s safety and operators should not ignore their responsibility for drivers' health and safety. The GMB will be pushing for a proper risk assessment and survey from TfL to help PHV and Taxi workers feel safer.

Steve Garelick, GMB London Region Organiser, said: “The Department for Transport & TfL are centring on passenger safety which is of paramount importance, but excluding drivers from consideration means that TfL has lost a golden opportunity to gain valuable insight from PHV and Taxi drivers.

“For years now drivers have been victims of verbal and physical assault, often without the protection of the law and often without support from operator barons who have scant regard for driver safety. Therefore, GMB has decided to conduct its own driver survey to gain further in-depth analysis of driver safety issues nationally.

“Drivers are almost invisible to the public and very little thought is given to their quality of life, trials, and tribulations whilst working. They tolerate passengers who give false allegations to save money on the fare and passengers who make unfair demands on drivers including playing the passenger’s music, stopping at ATMs and food shops, and ignoring warnings not to eat or drink in the vehicle. The endurance of such behaviours is a testament to drivers who are simply trying to earn a living."

GMB London say they will work with operators and governing bodies to represent the concerns of their members who drive Private Hire and Taxi vehicles to stamp out abuse and harm in this vital sector of London’s economy.


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