The London Assembly has concluded that TfL needs to bring in higher standards in the capital’s taxi and private hire industry.
In its report entitled “Raising the bar - Taxi & Private Hire services in London” the Assembly found that:
• The number of licensed private hire vehicles has increased by over 65 per cent since 2014, from 52,811 to 87,921.
• The Mayor and TfL are proposing to remove the exemption for private hire vehicles from the Congestion Charge, in order to help tackle congestion.
• Licensed taxi drivers continue to express grave concern over the future of the black cab industry.
• The Mayor has previously proposed that Parliament provides TfL with new powers to cap the number of private hire licences it issues, and has lobbied the Government to bring forward legislation on this, citing the negative impact of the rapid growth in the number of vehicles on congestion and air quality.
Key recommendations in the report include:
• The taxi action plan should be refreshed, and clear targets set; for example, for the wider and accelerated provision of rapid charging infrastructure across London and the establishment of ranks at all Crossrail stations.
• The criteria for fit and proper tests for private hire operators should be reviewed.
• The Mayor should 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.
Caroline Pidgeon MBE, Chair of the Assembly’s Transport Committee, said: “It is vital that there are high standards across the taxi and private hire trades in order to ensure the safety and comfort of the travelling public and the welfare of drivers. The Mayor and TfL have an important role to play in order to avoid a perceived ‘race to the bottom’ in terms of standards.”