Taxi and Private Hire Trade (5)

Meeting: 
MQT on 2020-03-19
Session date: 
March 19, 2020
Reference: 
2020/1059
Question By: 
David Kurten
Organisation: 
Brexit Alliance Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

In my experience from talking to taxi drivers, most of the taxi trade agree that your taxi & private hire action plan has failed. Do you agree and understand the frustration of taxi drivers?

Answer

Taxi and Private Hire Trade (5)

Taxi and Private Hire Trade (5)

Answered By: 
The Mayor

A host of measures have been delivered since I launched my Taxi and Private Hire Action Plan to improve public safety and support our taxi and private hire trades.

The majority of commitments have been met and details of these are set out below under the headings from the Action Plan:

Enhancing public safety

  • Transport for London has made a number of regulatory changes to improve safety and raise standards in the private hire industry, including an English language requirement for private hire drivers, a voice contact requirement (e.g. telephone), accurate fare estimates and provision of driver and vehicle details to a customer in advance of their journey. TfL has robustly defended some of these measures in the High Court and Court of Appeal in the interests of public safety.
  • Several further measures to improve safety and raise standards across the private hire industry were subject to a Private Hire Vehicle Safety consultation, the results of which will be published soon.
  • TfL has recruited over 200 taxi and private hire compliance officers that are dedicated to tackling illegal activity, including touting.

New initiatives for the taxi trade

  • All taxis licensed in London now accept card and contactless payment options, making it even easier for customers to pay.
  • Taxis have been granted access to 20 additional bus lanes and TfL has asked boroughs across London to consider granting access for taxis to a number of bus lanes that they control.
  • TfL has increased the number of taxi ranks across the capital by more than 20 per cent - increasing the number from 500 to around 660.

Delivering the greenest taxi fleet in the world

  • Since 1 January 2018, all taxis new to licensing must be zero emission capable (ZEC). As of 3 March 2020, TfL has licensed 3,320. Significant incentives remain available for the trade to encourage them to switch to new ZEC vehicles, including the Office for Low Emission Vehicles plug-in taxi grant and TfL's delicensing scheme, which offers a payment of up to £5,000 to encourage owners of the oldest most polluting taxis to remove them from the fleet. 
  • To support this, TfL has funded the installation of over 246 new rapid charge points across London of which 73 are taxi dedicated.

Lobbying for additional powers

TfL was an active member of the Department for Transport's Task and Finish Group, which published its report including a number of important recommendations: www.gov.uk/government/publications/taxi-and-private-hire-vehicle-licensing-recommendations-for-a-safer-and-more-robust-system.

The Government responded to these recommendations and simultaneously launched a consultation on statutory guidance for taxi and private hire licensing authorities:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/847315/taxi-task-and-finish-gov-repsonse.pdf

As we await the outcome of the government consultation, TfL and I continue to lobby government for important legislative changes, including a cap on the number of private hire drivers, reform of cross border hiring, statutory definitions of plying for hire and pre-booked and high-level national minimum standards. 

Regular updates regarding the work TfL is carrying out are provided by a variety of means including, on TfL's website, via the media and social media, in a weekly email to 100,000 licensees, during GLA question sessions and through continual engagement with the taxi and private hire trades.