Where to Guv?

“Where to Guv?”
“I’ll tell you when we get near, it’s a place called the One Tier System”

 An article to stimulate discussion and hopefully action by Paul Bond*.

TfL have a policy to support the Two-Tier System, yet their actions and inactions indicate the opposite and many in the trade seem to be unwilling to hold TfL to account for not implementing their own policy. Quite why this fudge suits some trade organisations stated aim to support their members working practices is a mystery to many including their own membership. It certainly doesn’t suit the working driver.
We need to remember that the various Hackney Carriage Acts and the 1998 PHV Act empower the Commissioner of TfL to issue orders and other regulations (secondary legislation) as they see fit, its enabling legislation not prescriptive as it recognises that technology etc doesn’t stand still.

So, on Monday morning Mike Brown could:
Issue Private Hire regulations seeking to clarify Plying for Hire that includes exhibition of vehicles on a screen and stating that the method of working is solely the preserve of Hackney Carriages licensed by TfL as confirmed by 380 years of working precedent and a plethora of case law!

That then excludes others (PH operators or not) from working in that way and supports TfL’s own policy objective, makes transgression a revocable offence, no more parlour games of refusing renewal when immediate revocation was the remedy TFL?

‘If it was that simple why hasn’t it been done?’

That’s a question for TfL – Political interference, incompetence, secret arrangements to kick the issue into touch, lack of will or inertia?

Or ALL of the above? We can all ponder and wonder, or we can simply create pressure on TfL to act. If we don’t we are heading for the destination in the title by default but with the following disadvantages:
1. A Purpose-Built Vehicle three times the price of PHV options.
2. Three or more years on KoL when a PH driver can be e-hailed in a few weeks
3. Regulated fares against PH who are able to charge what they like when they like.

So clearly unsustainable over any timescale, some might say bring it on, let all and sundry “Ply for Hire” use any vehicle, charge what you fancy. It certainly has its attractions!

Imagine the outcry at the queue at Waterloo when you say, ‘well its busy Guv so triple fare’, You can bet PH operators won’t want their serfs taking cash on the street rather than their meagre offering. It`s clear to me that if TfL aren’t going to defend the differential as their own policy dictates then the road to a de facto one tier is inevitable.

So, what to do?

Campaign for TfL to issue those Regulations and demand your organisation, Wes Streeting, The APPG, The Mayor and Deputy for Transport, GLA and the laughably titled ‘Task & Finish’ Department of Transport group (who is it they’re going to finish? Us?) do the same.

• The spirit of the 1998 Act assured us that PH drivers would not be licensed to P4H
• P4H core practices MUST be defined to include the use of technology
• There must be a significant and discernible differential in TPH working practices now that Smartphone ownership has reached 85% of the population.

There isn’t a Plan B – There isn’t a viable alternative – Only a One Tier System

*The views expressed are solely those of the author and not for or on behalf of any Trade Union, Grouping or Organisation

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