Thank you to all Talk London members who took part in the recent consultation on changes to private hire vehicle regulations. Over 850 of you responded to this important consultation on the future of taxi and private services, providing vital information to Transport for London (TfL) on the views of taxi and private hire passengers.
TfL have now set out plans to modernise London’s private hire industry by updating regulations to account for the impact of new technology and the rising numbers of private hire vehicles in London. Here's TfL's announcement.
Advances in technology and new business models in recent years have offered customers greater choice and convenience. These changes have also led to a massive growth in the number of private hire vehicles on London’s roads – there are now 95,000 drivers in the capital, up from 59,000 in 2010. This has contributed to wider challenges for London such as growing traffic congestion, illegal parking and areas of poor air quality, especially in central London.
Talk London community members were most in favour of the following recommendations, which will now come into effect following approval by TfL’s board in March.
TfL proposes to take forward 13 of the proposals as set out in the public consultation and a further five amended proposals. The following ideas – where our poll showed greater levels of disagreement among Londoners - will not be taken forward:
- Operators having to provide booking confirmation details to passengers at least five minutes prior to the journey commencing.
- Operators having to offer the ability to pre-book up to seven days in advance.
- Operators being prohibited from showing vehicles as available for immediate hire, either visibly, for example by signage on the street, or virtually, for example via an app.
- Private hire drivers only being able to be registered to a single operator at any time.
In addition, the Mayor and TfL are considering action to improve service and safety standards in the trade, including:
- Introducing an enhanced topographical test for new private hire drivers, requiring drivers to demonstrate enhanced map reading abilities and English language comprehension.
- Introducing a new complaints system so that customers can contact TfL if they have received poor service from a private hire company or driver.
- Introducing mandatory disability equality training and other improved training for drivers.
The Mayor has also asked TfL to investigate the impact and feasibility of removing the congestion charge exemption for private hire vehicles to reduce congestion and pollution in central London. TfL estimates that currently, private hire vehicles account for 1 in 10 vehicles entering the Congestion Charging Zone.
Feedback from Talk Londoners is vital to help the Mayor and TfL understand the impact of private hire regulations on passengers. Let us know about your experiences. What things are most important to you about London’s private hire and taxi services?
Update, 14 Sept: Yesterday the Mayor announced that several new measures are being introduced to update regulations for private hire vehicles.