Yesterday (9/4/14) TfL issued a statement regarding smart phone technology and the role it plays in the licensed taxi&Private hire industries operating in London.
The news is concerning as TfL have seemed to ride rough shod over both industries in as much as ignoring their own legislation. The catalyst for this spectacular show of contempt is Uber. A smartphone phone app. that facilitates bookings for PCO drivers independent of their operator. The app. provides the driver with software that calculates the fare based on distance and time, which in is effect acting as a makeshift taximeter. A direct contravention of the 1998 Private Hire Act. Article 11.1-3
11Prohibition of taximeters.
(1)No vehicle to which a London PHV licence relates shall be equipped with a taximeter.
(2)If such a vehicle is equipped with a taximeter, the owner of that vehicle is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.
(3)In this section “taximeter” means a device for calculating the fare to be charged in respect of any journey by reference to the distance travelled or time elapsed since the start of the journey (or a combination of both).
In their statement TfL seem to ignore this and seem redundant in their ability in enforcing their own legislation.
· Smart phones used by private hire drivers – which act as GPS tracking devices to measure journey distances and relay information so that fares can be calculated remotely from the vehicle – do not constitute the equipping of a vehicle with a taxi meter.
Tranatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a trade agreement that is presently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States. It aims at removing trade barriers making it easier to buy and sell goods and services between the EU and the US.
Given that 50% of EU Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) comes from the US and over half the FDI in the US comes from the EU, the potential for litigation is apparent.
The focus of this treaty is on investors’ rights and not on public service standards. Unlike ordinary investment, which carries risk, TTIP investors can avoid most risk because it places return on investment above all other considerations. Under TTIP, lawsuits can be brought against national governments. This in effect is for big business to challenge legislation that prevents profit or an ability to apply a model.
With over $3.6bn (£2.15bn) invested in Uber is it no wonder TfL are reluctant to implement legislation.