In the statement below, the Mayor moves to reassure the black cab trade.
Mayor of London
16 Jun 2015 — Dear Petitioners,
Thank you for the petition submitted on the Change.org website calling for the banning of Uber Ltd in London.
The Mayor has always supported the taxi trade and is especially aware of the iconic role black taxis play in our capital. He takes his relationship with the taxi trade, and indeed the private hire trade, very seriously. The world-renowned Knowledge of London, which must be demonstrated before a taxi driver is licensed to ply for hire, means that drivers have an unparalleled understanding of London’s streets and points of interest, as well as pride in their profession.
The number of private hire vehicle drivers on London’s roads has increased by 18 per cent in the last 18 months and numbers are now rising by more than 1,000 each month. The Mayor is concerned that this unprecedented rise is causing increased congestion, particularly in central London, as well as more pollution and problems of illegal parking. This is against any driver, operator or vehicle that is found to be non-compliant.
TfL is under a legal obligation to grant a private hire operator’s licence to an applicant that meets the requirement set out in the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 that they are a fit and proper person to hold a licence. TfL has not treated, and does not treat, Uber differently to any other applicant or private hire operator.
As we all know, the technological world is developing rapidly and this brings new challenges to TfL as a regulator. TfL is committed to addressing these challenges, while ensuring that all drivers and operators are working legally and fairly. The recent emergence of a range of new apps, in particular, the Uber app, has raised some important questions about how services are delivered. This includes the requirements for private hire bookings to be pre-booked through a licensed operator and the right to ply for hire which is unique to taxis and is a cornerstone of the trade. TfL carefully scrutinises operations and takes immediate action against any driver, operator or vehicle that is found to be non-compliant
In light of the growing number of drivers on the capital’s roads, TfL has committed to reviewing the resources dedicated to taxi and private hire compliance. Specifically, TfL and trade representatives have agreed priorities for redeploying existing resources and TfL will work with the Metropolitan Police Service and London’s boroughs to ensure enforcement activities are targeted in the most effective way. TfL is also exploring how it can better respond to real-time information from drivers to target its enforcement activities effectively. This includes via the TFL @TfLTPH twitter account and the introduction and promotion of a #TfLToutReport hashtag which feeds information directly to the TfL compliance team.
The Mayor remains a great supporter of the taxi trade and TfL will continue to ensure that any complaints about drivers and operators are fully investigated. In addition to the new #TfLToutReport hashtag, TfL has also set up an online reporting tool on their website at: tfl.gov.uk/forms/12368.aspx, which allows anyone with information about illegal cab activity to report it. I would urge you to use this tool or the twitter hashtag if you have information about illegal activities.
Thank you again for writing.
Public Liaison Unit