Taxi trade representatives met last week with Mike Brown, Transport Commissioner for Transport for London (TFL).
The agenda was as follows;
- Taxi Exclusion – Bank Junction, Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Street
- Bus Lanes Update – Blackwall Tunnel northbound
- Compliance and TPH organisation
- Compliance Issues
- Reinstatement of the Advanced Driving Test on completion of The Knowledge
- Display of vehicles on apps
- Mobile phone apps
- Licence decision
- AVA Car Park
Starting with Uber and TFL’s decision not to revoke their license and instead choosing simply not to renew.
Mike Brown was asked why were Uber not immediately prevented from operating. ALL trade reps asked this question, however we were told that this is now subject to a legal process and that they could not discuss this with us.
During the meeting Mike Brown has agreed to raise with the mayor the possibility of revising proposal 8 of the private hire regulations; the removal of the display of vehicles on a screen.
Mike Brown has agreed to push City of London (CoL) for access to Bank Junction. The trade has asked for more pressure from TFL and Mike Brown regarding this. New traffic modelling has shown that should Taxis have access to Bank Junction the effect on Bus times would be minimal.
During the recent Tavistock inquiry it emerged that Camden Council, within their statement of case, interpreted The Mayor’s Transport Policy as saying that Taxis are ‘unsustainable transport’.
Mike Brown condemned Camden Councils use of the term when referring to Taxis. Nowhere in the Mayors Transport policy does it state that Taxis are ‘unsustainable transport’.
Camden have been disingenuous in their use of this term and during the recent Inquiry RMT made it clear that Camden Councils use of this term is unacceptable.
Mike Brown and TFL said they would not be addressing the use of mobiles by drivers when working, keeping in line with the law – as long as it’s in a cradle.
RMT have been pushing for updated signage to be inline with the ‘Traffic Signs & General directions 2002’ legislation across all London boroughs. Mike Brown has agreed to liaise with boroughs over insufficient signage regarding Taxi ranks, which can leave ranks unenforceable by civil officers.
The trade have asked for Taxi and Private Hire (TPH) enforcement to be bought back under TPH and not more generally with bus and other transport enforcement, which is cited as the main reason for a target driven culture among Compliance Officers and poor training amongst them of Taxi and Private Hire rules.
Meetings with the Taxi Trade and TFL are not at present minuted. RMT have always been in favour of minutes being taken, however the trade have never been able to agree on this. RMT would welcome support from other Trade organisations or Unions if their stance on this issue has changed or been incorrectly communicated.
This has led to a situation where trade groups circulate their own interpretations. This is purely for our own record and for relaying to members (via branch meetings in particular).
Regarding the ‘new’ engagement policy under Mayor Khan, there is an engagement policy about groups they can meet, though no one has actually signed an agreement. If you don’t consent to the policy then you simply don’t turn up for the arranged meetings under this policy.
The policy works as follows;
TFL hold formal meetings with the five established Trade groups, RMT, Unite, UCG, LTDA, and LCDC.
Within that any of the groups can meet with TFL on an informal basis outside of this forum.
Further to that TFL reserve the right to meet with any other ‘AD HOC’ groups or interested stake holders.