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We URGENTLY need 4,000 dedicated stopping and rest areas for minicab drivers in London, says union


A private hire drivers' union has urged London’s transport regulators to urgently provide 4,000 dedicated stopping and rest areas for minicabs in the capital’s central Zone 1 area.


The App Drivers and Courier Union (ADCU) argues that the purpose of the rest breaks is for workplace safety and that the facilities should be considered as part of the ‘Fit and Proper’ assessment of operators.

Historically, before the boom in app booking platforms like Uber, Ola and Bolt, each operator would have had an operating base for drivers to refresh and use toilet facilities if necessary.


The debate sparked into life after London taxi driver representatives contacted Transport for London (TfL) last week ordering a stop to Uber’s planned ‘Pick-up Points’ that the industry argues are essentially taxi ranks.


According to the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) and the United Cabbies Group (UCG), a message from private hire operators Uber was sent to customers detailing information around the new ‘Pick-up Points’.

In the message it highlights three new pick-up points located in Soho’s busy Wardour Street, Romilly Street and Archer Street. The locations have been brought in due to several streets in the Soho area being closed during the coronavirus restriction easement process.


However, both the LTDA and UCG have quickly contacted regulators Transport for London (TfL) claiming that what Uber call Pick-up Points, the taxi industry calls taxi ranks.

Displaying availability to the public for an immediate journey is seen to be the sole right of a taxi. Only licensed black cabs can pick-up from the street or form taxi ranks displaying their availability.


Replying to the story, an ADCU spokesperson said: “We've been saying for years that Transport for London Taxi and Private Hire (TfLTPH) has licensed 90,000 PHVs, but failed to ensure the provision of essential operating infrastructure.


“We urgently need a minimum 4,000 dedicated stopping/rest areas for PHVs in zone 1.”

Peter Rose, a licensed taxi driver and former union representative for the trade, said it was up to the operator to source and pay for facilities like rest areas and toilets at any central operating bases. Rose said: “Not up to TfLTPH to provide this, it's solely the responsibility of the Operator/PH company to provide rest and refreshment facilities at their base of operations. Which is where drivers and vehicles should be when not a booking. PH should not be plying for hire on the streets!”


The ADCU responded: “Resting is not plying. The purpose of rest breaks is for workplace safety. Safety is definitely a regulatory responsibility. TfL must consider all this in Fit and Proper assessment of operators and they must consider what infrastructure is required for safe operations for 90,000 licensed fleet in London.”


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