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Cap Number Of Cabs And Drivers In London

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

GMB Call For TFL To Cap Number Of Cabs And Drivers As Safeguarding Passenger Safety And Drivers Incomes Are Two Sides Of Same Coin For Sustainable Cab Regulations

As High Court hears case about smartphones as meters drivers need protection from dwindling incomes from failure to cap numbers which in turn increase risks to passengers says GMB.

GMB commented on the High Court case being heard on 5 October where Transport for London (TfL), taxi body( LTDA), Uber, and private hire body (LPHCA) are asking the  Court to make a declaration on whether smartphones, used by some private hire drivers, are taximeters. This follows the publication last week by TFL of proposals for consultation on modernising private hire regulations in London. See notes to editors for TFL press release dated 29th September.

Steve Garelick, Branch Secretary Professional Drivers, said "GMB will consult members on these proposals and will respond in detail at that point.

GMB consider that instead of concentrating on the platforms used by the public to book cabs TFL should recognize the key point that safeguarding passenger safety and driver income are two sides of the same coin. You cannot have one without the other.

This means that drivers need to be protected from dwindling income forced by the failure to cap numbers which in turn increase risks to passengers.

TFL should look to build on the following principles in the consultation on modernising private hire regulations. See notes to editors for TFL press release dated 29th September.

  • There should be an agreed cap on the number of licenced vehicles and drivers in London. All vehicles and drivers to meet agreed standards.
  • Fares should be set at a level that all operators including Uber can enable drivers to earn a living without excessive hours avoiding the risks  of driver fatigue and places an obligation on the operator for occupational safety.
  • A system to deal with complaints that drivers make about operators behaviour from illegal deductions or failings to return rent or insurance deposits to being barred or dismissed for refusing bookings.
  • For passenger safety an agreed system to confirm the driver assigned to an app is the driver carrying out journeys.
  • All payments from passengers to operators on journeys should be UK based to give greater protection to users and to make tax evasion impossible.
  • In-venue licences should be retained - as we believe removing it as TFL propose will allow a tout culture to grow with no control on venues or the staff who profit from the illegal trade.
  • An Insurance mini certificate to protect the good name of drivers should be shown in a similar location to the tax disk to protect the entire trade which will save insurers millions in fraudulent claims.
  •  Proposals to deal with attacks on drivers and driver’s safety, evading licence requirements by using courier licences, costs of licences and pre-booking, etc.

If TFL enter into dialogue on basis of these principles it should be possible to put in place sensible regulation that safeguarding passenger safety and driver income.”

End

Contact:  Simon Rush on 07863 256411 or Steve Garelick or  07565 456 776, or Michelle Bacon 07961 709680 or GMB press office 07921 289 880 or 07974 251 823 Or Steve.garelick@gmbdrivers.org

Notes to editors:

Press release from TFL dated 29 September 2015

Consultation on modernising private hire regulations

Initial consultation, earlier this year, received almost four thousand responses from trades, customers and stakeholders

"The consultation sets out a number of ways that standards across the industry could be raised, ensuring Londoners can continue to benefit from the service provided by licensed private hire vehicles. No final decisions have been made and we're keen to hear a range of views from the trade and from Londoners too"

Garrett Emmerson

Chief Operating Officer for Surface Transport, TfL

Secondary consultation contains proposals for discussion in relation to an English language requirement for drivers, stricter controls on insurance and tighter controls on private hire bookings

New taxi and private hire strategy also published, outlining TfL's vision for the wider industry as a whole

Transport for London (TfL) will tomorrow launch a secondary public consultation on potential changes to the regulations that govern the Capital's private hire trade. This follows an initial consultation which ended in June and received almost 4,000 responses from customers, stakeholders and the trades.

Following a detailed analysis of the responses to the initial consultation and meetings with trade representatives, a number of detailed suggestions have been drafted for consideration with the aim of helping TfL to better regulate the 21st century private hire trade.

These include proposals to improve driver skills, including English language capabilities and stricter requirements for insurance, as well as proposals around the way private hire operators can accept bookings and changes to how bookings are recorded. In addition a tough topographic exam to test driver navigational skills will also be introduced.

Garrett Emmerson, TfL's Chief Operating Officer for Surface Transport, said:

'We are launching a public consultation in order to inform and improve the regulations that govern the Capital's private hire trade. In recent years the private hire industry has grown exponentially and technology has also developed rapidly. The consultation sets out a number of ways that standards across the industry could be raised, ensuring Londoners can continue to benefit from the service provided by licensed private hire vehicles. No final decisions have been made and we're keen to hear a range of views from the trade and from Londoners too.'

Alongside the consultation, TfL has also published a vision for the future of the taxi and private hire trade as a whole, setting the proposed changes to private hire regulations in the wider context of developments in the entire industry.

The consultation will run for 12 weeks and close on 23 December

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