London minicab drivers face greater testing28 Mar 2018

TfL consults on tighter regulation of private hire sector

Transport for London (TfL) wants to introduce driving tests for private hire drivers.

A consultation on greater regulation of the minicab business says:

“The Mayor’s Taxi and Private Hire Action Plan included a proposal to improve the standards of driving across the [private hire] industry by requiring that private hire drivers pass an advanced driving test before they can be licensed or relicensed.

“As professional drivers are carrying fare paying passengers in an urban environment it is important that London PHV drivers demonstrate a higher standard of driving than that required for a standard driving licence.”

The consultation also seeks views on:

  • more signs in vehicles to inform passengers of their rights to complain
  • introducing a minimum three-year enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check
  • the insurance drivers are required to have
  • whether minicabs should be eligible for the congestion charge

There are now 114,000 people licensed to drive minicabs in the capital.

Commenting on the consultation Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“I think there is a general feeling that we would all like the standards to be raised whoever is doing the driving, but in particular when it is professional drivers and they are driving our partners, our children, our loved ones, I think it is quite reasonable to expect that they will drive to a higher standard.”

The union representing drivers says the cost of a test would unfairly burden drivers, “many of who are earning below the minimum wage, while operators with budgets in the millions if not billions, such as Uber and Addison Lee, are left untouched.”

United Private Hire Drivers also says it “has repeatedly called for improved standards for the private hire industry, such internal and external CCTV on cars, requiring first-aid training for drivers, 24-hours emergency telephone support for drivers and passengers, mandatory safeguarding training to be provided by operators, rest and toilet areas in central London, and an integrated and regulated safety management system, as exists in other transport industries such as rail, bus and air travel.”

ENDS

Contact:

Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation

philip.gomm@racfoundation.org | 020 7747 3445 | 07711 776448 | 020 7389 0601 (ISDN)

Notes to editors:

The RAC Foundation is a transport policy and research organisation that explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users.

The Foundation publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interest of the responsible motorist.

All the Foundation’s work is available on its website:

www.racfoundation.org