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Transport for London has NO PLANS to allow Wolverhampton PHV compliance officers into the capital

Image credit: @Bexleytaxi

Transport for London (TfL) has NO PLANS to allow City of Wolverhampton Council compliance officers to run enforcement operations in the capital.

A growing number of private hire vehicles (PHV) licensed by the Midlands powerhouse authority have appeared in London in 2023.

According to a report seen by TaxiPoint, the largest ever increase on record (outside of London) is held by Wolverhampton and currently stands at 5,051 drivers. This is now set to be broken, in fact doubled, by the same authority in 202/23 financial year. As of 15 December 2022, Wolverhampton had 26,745 drivers, an increase of 7,428 so far that year. Given that there were three more months left, it is likely that the increase will approach 10,000.

Legislation allows for something called ‘cross-border hiring’, which refers to a PHV driver in one licensing district picking up a passenger in another district. This is legal, provided either that the driver, vehicle, and operator are all licensed by the first district; or that the operator sub-contracts the booking to an operator licensed in another council area. This practice has become increasingly commonplace since app-based operators started popping up a decade ago, exploiting what is essentially a legal loophole.

For many, this practice is seen as problematic. When a taxi or PHV is being driven for PHV purposes in another district, the local council has no powers to step in if the driver contravenes any condition of the licence or provides a poor service to a passenger. In such circumstances, all that can be done is to write to the authority which issued the licence, where this is known.

In a Transport for London (TfL) Freedom of Information response a spokesperson said: “TfL has not arranged and is not planning to arrange for Wolverhampton Compliance Officers to come to London.

“Were a need to arise, the Department for Transport Statutory Taxi & Private Hire Vehicle Standards do provide, at 9.2, provision for joint authorisation of officers from other authorities so that compliance and enforcement action can be taken against licensees from outside their area.”


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