FOCUS ON: TAXIS AND PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLES
London’s taxis provide a reliable and trusted service to Londoners, tourists and business people from home and abroad, offering customers safety and convenience, aided by drivers’ extensive knowledge of the capital’s streets. Taxis are particularly important in central London, occupying 17 per cent of the road space on an average weekday, with a further 10 per cent occupied by Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs).
Policy 20 The Mayor, through TfL and the boroughs, and working with stakeholders, will seek to ensure London has a safe, secure, accessible, world-class taxi and private hire service with opportunity for all providers to flourish.
Taxis can expand travel horizons for those requiring safe, accessible travel options. High-quality accessible taxi ranks across the capital are vital to this. New safety, equality and regulatory knowledge assessments for PHV drivers will be introduced by TfL by 2018. As Night Tube expands, new and improved taxi ranks at stations will provide safe and accessible options for onward journeys.
Taxis also have a key role to play in tackling London’s air quality challenge. From 2018, taxi electric charging points will be provided to support the roll-out of zero emission capable taxis as outlined in the Ultra-Low Emission proposals in Chapter three.
It is essential that the iconic London taxi brand is maintained and enhanced as its environment continues to change. This means continuing to monitor service standards, facilitating customer feedback, further improving the customer experience using technology (such as including taxi options in TfL’s Journey Planner), and exploring new ways to reduce the barriers to becoming a black cab driver without compromising the quality of service offered.
It is important to raise standards for PHVs, recognising that they have a role to play in moving people around but also contribute towards increasing congestion. TfL should be given more powers over the private hire market in London, including the ability to cap overall numbers of PHVs. The Government should also introduce legislation to provide statutory definitions of plying for hire and prebooked services to clarify the difference between taxi and private hire services.
Issues of licensed taxis and PHVs working remotely from the area in which they are licensed are increasingly commonplace. It cannot be right that taxi and private hire licensees license themselves with one authority with, for example, the sole intention of working the majority of time in another authority area.
Taxi and PHV legislation also needs to take account of technological change, and new types of service, as the PHV and taxi trades are both evolving, for example through the emergence of customer and booking platforms and pooling services. The safety and fair treatment of drivers and passengers remain a top priority.
Proposal 77 The Mayor, through TfL, will seek:
a) Powers to limit the overall number of private hire vehicles licensed for use in London so as to manage their contribution to overall congestion, particularly in central London.
b) Powers to introduce a requirement to ensure that taxi and private hire journeys by TfL-licensed drivers must either start or end in the Greater London area.
Illegal and non-compliant taxi and private hire activity poses a risk to passenger safety and undermines the legitimate and law-abiding trades. Improving compliance and the safety of travelling by taxi and private hire remains a priority for the Mayor and TfL.
Proposal 78 The Mayor, through TfL, will raise the safety standards for all customers travelling by taxi and private hire vehicles through effective and transparent regulation and enforcement.
Regulations regarding the use of pedicabs in London are required to ensure the safety and security of passengers and other road users, and to reduce the impact they have on congestion, particularly in the West End.