Mayor renews call for further powers over private hire trade

30 September 2015

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has renewed his call for further powers to cap the number of Private Hire Vehicles in the capital.

This follows a recent analysis of Congestion Charging data that shows a huge increase in the number of licensed Private Hire Vehicles observed within the zone during charging hours*. In September 2012 an average of 448 licensed Private Hire Vehicles were observed each day in the Congestion Charge zone. In August 2015 this figure had increased to 13,151 – which is a 29-fold increase.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: 'Earlier this year I made clear my intention to seek powers to curb the rise of private hire vehicles that is causing congestion, particularly in central London, as well as illegal parking and pollution. Londoners have embraced new technology and rightly so, but we can't continue to have more than 13,000 private hire drivers in central London and growing given the congestion that results. That is why TfL is running a wider consultation to hear views on the regulations governing the trade and why I continue to push for legislation from Government to enable us to stamp out illegal practices and cap the number of private hire vehicles.'

In May this year the Mayor made clear his intention to press for legislation from the government to enable Transport for London (TfL) to cap the number of Private Hire Vehicles drivers operating in the capital, which is rising by up to 2,000 each month.

Currently there are 88,149 minicab drivers in London and over the past year that number has risen by 16,312. At this rate, over the next two years, there will be an additional 40,000 minicab drivers – bringing the total number to more than 128,000.

The growth of private hire vehicle drivers in the last 18 months is approximately 32 per cent.

The Mayor is of the firm view that London must be able to cap the number of minicab drivers – however, currently TfL does not have the ability to do so. He will, therefore, continue to seek legislation to give the capital that power.

*The Congestion Charge operates between 07:00 and 18:00 Monday to Friday.

Notes to editors

Increase in private hire driver numbers in recent years:

2009/2010 – 59,191 

2010/2011 – 61,200

2011/2012 – 64,063

2012/2013 – 66,975

2013/2014 – 65,656

2014/2015 – 78,690

2015/2016 (year to date) – 88,149  

Examples of traffic/parking congestion spots include:

West End (Piccadilly, Mayfair, Leicester Square) during Thursday, Fridays and Saturday nights and residential streets around Heathrow.

Particular streets/locations include:

St Pancras International
Dover Street
Berkeley St/Dover St
Piccadilly/Shaftesbury Avenue/Swallow Street and Wardour Street
Portman Square and Grosvenor Place
Knightsbridge/Hyde Park Corner
Edgware Road/ Marylebone (includes both Praed Street (Paddington Station), Star Street, Bryanston Square and Marylebone Road).
Charing Cross Road/ Leicester Square
Camden High Street
Greenwich around 02
Clapham High St