Raising The Bar in London?

In December 2014 the London Assembly’s Transport Committee published ‘Future Proof: Taxi & Private Hire Services in London’.  It considered the future of taxi and private hire services in London.

Today, in following up that report, it has published ‘Raising The Bar: Taxi & Private Hire Services in London‘.  It makes “…recommendations to the Mayor and TfL on the steps needed to effectively regulate this sector and ensure high standards for passengers and drivers…“.  Those recommendations, found at pages 6-8, are-

  • Recommendation 1

If a decision is taken to remove the congestion charge exemption for private hire, TfL should commit to conducting a full and timely evaluation of the effect of the removal of the congestion charge exemption on levels of congestion within the Charging Zone, the knock-on effects for the areas immediately outside the zone, and the impact on operators, drivers and the wider public transport system.

  • Recommendation 2

We call on the Mayor and TfL to refresh the taxi action plan and set clear targets; for example, for the wider and accelerated provision of rapid charging infrastructure across London and the establishment of ranks at all Crossrail stations. TfL should also set out to this committee how it will address driver concerns about the lack of options when purchasing new vehicles, and provide an update on its efforts to accredit the Knowledge of London.

  • Recommendation 3

The Mayor now needs to clarify whether he will continue to press for the powers to cap licence numbers. If he does, TfL will need to demonstrate that they have collected the evidence necessary to conduct a thorough public interest test. The Mayor and TfL should consider ‘smart alternatives’ to a numerical cap. This should include investigating how current and emerging technologies could be used to identify and mitigate the negative impacts of congestion and pollution at particular times or in particular locations.

  • Recommendation 4

TfL should work with stakeholders to determine whether there is unmet need for wheelchair accessible vehicles. If this is found, TfL should explore whether requiring larger operators to provide a minimum proportion of accessible vehicles within their fleets would resolve this issue.

  • Recommendation 5

TfL should consider how an accreditation scheme can contribute to raising standards and come forward with specific proposals for a Charter Mark scheme. TfL should also review the criteria for ‘fit and proper tests’ for private hire operators, in line with Government findings.

  • Recommendation 6

TfL should consider whether elements of the New York model could be applied in London, with a new type of high-volume operator licence based on the number of journeys an operator carries out, rather than simply the size of its fleet. In particular, TfL should consider how to review the current tiered licence fee structure to reflect proportional impact of the operator on enforcement and administration, rather than size of fleet. TfL should also consider whether introducing requirements on high volume operators to submit an analysis of their impact on congestion, and anonymised trip data, should be replicated in London.

  • Recommendation 7

We urge TfL to work with stakeholders to develop proposals for a framework for regulation of on-demand bus services that addresses the convergence of private hire and bus services.

  • Recommendation 8

We urge the Mayor to bring forward a more comprehensive analysis of the potential benefits and risks of ride sharing for drivers and passengers, with a view to developing appropriate regulation, backed by calls for new legislation as necessary.

  • Recommendation 9

We reiterate our calls for TfL to improve its engagement with drivers, operators and passengers for both the taxi and private hire trades, recognising that each group has distinct concerns and needs that must be effectively addressed through regulation.

The report, and its recommendations, has been passed to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Transport for London. It remains to be seen what approach will be taken.

Travis Morley Associates Limited © 2020-2021