Minicab driver prosecuted for snubbing blind person

A PRIVATE-hire driver has been fined for refusing to take a guide dog in his minicab.

Mohammed Foysal (40), of Laxley Close, Oldham, was asked to pick up a fare outside B&Q Oldham and take the passenger to Shaw. But when Foysal arrived at the store he was heard to say he didn’t allow dogs in his car.

The refusal was reported to Oldham Council and Foysal told a licensing officer he was scared of the dog, which had licked him on a previous journey.

At Oldham Magistrates Court Foysal pleaded guilty to Oldham’s first prosecution under the Equality Act of 2010. He was fined £73 and ordered to pay costs of £320.

In a separate case, a shopkeeper was fined for selling alcohol to a child during a test purchase run by trading standards officers.

Last August a staff member at St Mary’s Convenience Store in Henshaw Street sold four cans of lager to a 15 year old.

The store’s owner, Ahmed Fahim Yousef Zada of Henshaw Street, was prosecuted as he is responsible for his employees’ actions.

Zada (29), who had previously been cautioned for the same offence in 2012, was fined £220 and ordered to pay costs of £350.

source: http://www.oldham-chronicle.co.uk/

Court upholds minicab licence decision

The owner of a minicab firm which has had it’s licence revoked has seen the decision upheld by magistrates after he challenged it in court.

Councillors in Wolverhampton ordered for the licence of Westside Radio Cars to be revoked in October but Tahir Hussain, the owner of the firm, had appealed to magistrates.

It was revoked after a council investigation found they had four uninsured cars operating over a weekend in July last year.

Mr Hussain had appealed the original decision, which was made by the licensing sub-committee in October, and appeared at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court to hear his fate.

But magistrates upheld the ruling made by the committee, saying he was not a ‘fit and proper’ person to run the firm.

Mrs Sarah Hardwick, who represented Wolverhampton City Council at the hearing, said Mr Hussain had failed to provide the correct insurance documents when the council visited their base. She told the court that the trips the four uninsured cars carried out jeopardised public safety.

She said: “Under council guidelines, they can revoke a license for multiple breaches of guidelines, and the council believe there were multiple breaches as a number of journeys were made across the weekend.”

She said Mr Hussain accepted that the cars he was using from another company, Motor Accident Claims Ltd, were not properly insured.

Chairman of the bench, Dr Alison Felce ordered Mr Hussain to pay £2,125.52 in costs, but he said he will now appeal to the crown court.

Speaking after the hearing, he said: “I have 21 days now to appeal which I will do. I feel as though we have been treated unfairly and I will take it as far as I need to, to clear my name.”

source: http://www.expressandstar.com/

Taxi driver was playing Johnny Mathis CD in his cab – when the US singing star got in

John McManus with his hero Johnny Mathis

Black cab driver John McManus had the surprise of his life when he picked up his musical hero after his concert in Manchester.

A taxi driver who has been a Johnny Mathis fan for 30 years had the surprise of his life when he went to pick up a fare – and his musical hero climbed into the back of his cab.

John McManus had been hoping to see the veteran crooner in concert in Manchester on Saturday night but was left disappointed when he was unable to get a ticket.

The morning after the concert at the Phones4u Arena, 65-year-old John, of Manchester Road, Wardley, put on a CD of Johnny Mathis’ greatest hits as he was sent to collect a passenger at the Lowry Hotel.

And the granddad of five was stunned when the 78-year-old American star opened the door and sat on the back seat.

His favourite song ‘Someone’ – with the line ‘someone wants to say hello’ – was playing just as Mathis climbed in.

John said: “As this line of the song played the cab door opened and I heard a voice say ‘you’ve got good taste in music.’

“I turned around, saw it was Johnny and all I could think to say to him in return was ‘hiyah’. I had no idea who I was picking up before I arrived at the Lowry. My company was booked by the hotel concierge to pick up an ‘A class’ customer.

“My children have grown up listening to his music and my wife is a massive fan. I phoned my wife afterwards and said ‘you won’t believe who I’ve had in the back of my cab’ and she guessed Wayne Rooney.

“She screamed when I told her it was Johnny. This has definitely made my year,”

John continued to play the Greatest Hits collection during the 45-minute drive with his hero. And he overcame his nerves to tell him that they have similar names – he is known to friends and family as ‘John-E’ – and that he was sorry to miss out on getting tickets to his first Manchester show in three years.

Before dropping the Texan-born hitmaker off at the Mere Golf Resort and Spa in Knutsford, where he was due to play a round of golf, he couldn’t resist asking for a photo of the pair together, which Johnny happily obliged. He was also rewarded with a handshake and a hug from the performer.

John added: “I have all his albums and I seen him in concert loads of times, every time he has been over to the UK, apart from this one. Even when I lived in Spain I would fly in to see him. So I was gutted to miss him this time round.

“But this was better than going to the show. I feel like I got the cherry on the cake. I told that him that I had followed his career for many years and he hugged me. He told me that the Manchester public are beautiful.

“He’s an A class singer and his personality is just as good as his songs. He is a nice, pleasant guy.

“Luckily I always carry a camera in my black cab.

“After that I had to go straight home. I just couldn’t get over what had happened.

“I’m still buzzing from the experience now.

“I feel like all my birthdays and Christmases have come at once.”

source: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/

Drivers complain about new Leeds Bradford Airport charges

 

The new system replaces the airport’s Voyager scheme that allowed drivers free parking for an annual fee

Minicab drivers have complained after Leeds Bradford Airport introduced a £2 fee for dropping passengers off at the terminal building.

The new charge replaces a system that allowed cab drivers to pay a £25 annual fee which allowed them 30 minutes free parking.

The airport said free parking was still available nearby.

Simon Murphy, head of SJK Private Hire in north Leeds, said the rise was a “massive shock” to his business.

Mr Murphy said the free parking area was too far away from the terminal and passengers would pay more in taxi fares to reach the new drop-off zone.

“I’m just disappointed,” he said. “I need their help. They can’t do this to us.

“It is going to cost our business hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

In a statement, the airport said: “We have a dedicated free one-hour zone at Leeds Bradford Airport, which allows all of our users up to 60 minutes parking free of charge and all former members of the Voyager scheme are invited to use it.”

source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/

Taxi price hike plans help out hard-up drivers

New Taxi Union set up by Drivers of East Staffordshire.

TAXI chiefs have defended a potential raft of price hikes saying that they need to make the move to ‘help keep their heads above water’,

Mohammed Ikhlaq, chairman of the East Staffordshire Private Hire and Taxi Association, spoke out after details were revealed behind several increases that are set to be put in place in a move he said that the industry needs to survive.

The changes could include a 10p charge for every 15 seconds of waiting time, 50p for every piece of luggage past the first piece, 10p for every shopping bag after the first five and a £70 fee for anyone who is sick in a taxi.

Mr Ikhlaq told the Mail: “I know that many people will see this as a negative because some of the prices are going up but it is something we have to do to make sure that we keep our heads above water.

“Most taxi drivers in the town are not even making minimum wage and this is something that cannot go on.

“In terms of the charge for when people are sick in our cabs, yes this is rising from £45 to £70 but this covers not just the cleaning, but also the time that the taxi is off the road while this takes place.

“We don’t want to have to raise our charges but with added costs such as rising fuel and insurance prices, it is something we have had to do.

“We have a right to earn a living, a decent living and this is what we have to do to make sure that we can do that.

“People will not like it but, from our point of view, it is something we could not have done.”

There could also be a £1 charge for any taxi hire between 6pm and 5am. Wheelchair and pushchair access would still be free but it could cost £3 to transport a dog, cat or any kind of pet.

Read more: http://www.burtonmail.co.uk/

Apr 15

Minicab driver prosecuted for snubbing blind person

A PRIVATE-hire driver has been fined for refusing to take a guide dog in his minicab.

Mohammed Foysal (40), of Laxley Close, Oldham, was asked to pick up a fare outside B&Q Oldham and take the passenger to Shaw. But when Foysal arrived at the store he was heard to say he didn’t allow dogs in his car.

The refusal was reported to Oldham Council and Foysal told a licensing officer he was scared of the dog, which had licked him on a previous journey.

At Oldham Magistrates Court Foysal pleaded guilty to Oldham’s first prosecution under the Equality Act of 2010. He was fined £73 and ordered to pay costs of £320.

In a separate case, a shopkeeper was fined for selling alcohol to a child during a test purchase run by trading standards officers.

Last August a staff member at St Mary’s Convenience Store in Henshaw Street sold four cans of lager to a 15 year old.

The store’s owner, Ahmed Fahim Yousef Zada of Henshaw Street, was prosecuted as he is responsible for his employees’ actions.

Zada (29), who had previously been cautioned for the same offence in 2012, was fined £220 and ordered to pay costs of £350.

source: http://www.oldham-chronicle.co.uk/

Apr 15

Court upholds minicab licence decision

The owner of a minicab firm which has had it’s licence revoked has seen the decision upheld by magistrates after he challenged it in court.

Councillors in Wolverhampton ordered for the licence of Westside Radio Cars to be revoked in October but Tahir Hussain, the owner of the firm, had appealed to magistrates.

It was revoked after a council investigation found they had four uninsured cars operating over a weekend in July last year.

Mr Hussain had appealed the original decision, which was made by the licensing sub-committee in October, and appeared at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court to hear his fate.

But magistrates upheld the ruling made by the committee, saying he was not a ‘fit and proper’ person to run the firm.

Mrs Sarah Hardwick, who represented Wolverhampton City Council at the hearing, said Mr Hussain had failed to provide the correct insurance documents when the council visited their base. She told the court that the trips the four uninsured cars carried out jeopardised public safety.

She said: “Under council guidelines, they can revoke a license for multiple breaches of guidelines, and the council believe there were multiple breaches as a number of journeys were made across the weekend.”

She said Mr Hussain accepted that the cars he was using from another company, Motor Accident Claims Ltd, were not properly insured.

Chairman of the bench, Dr Alison Felce ordered Mr Hussain to pay £2,125.52 in costs, but he said he will now appeal to the crown court.

Speaking after the hearing, he said: “I have 21 days now to appeal which I will do. I feel as though we have been treated unfairly and I will take it as far as I need to, to clear my name.”

source: http://www.expressandstar.com/

Apr 15

Taxi driver was playing Johnny Mathis CD in his cab – when the US singing star got in

John McManus with his hero Johnny Mathis

Black cab driver John McManus had the surprise of his life when he picked up his musical hero after his concert in Manchester.

A taxi driver who has been a Johnny Mathis fan for 30 years had the surprise of his life when he went to pick up a fare – and his musical hero climbed into the back of his cab.

John McManus had been hoping to see the veteran crooner in concert in Manchester on Saturday night but was left disappointed when he was unable to get a ticket.

The morning after the concert at the Phones4u Arena, 65-year-old John, of Manchester Road, Wardley, put on a CD of Johnny Mathis’ greatest hits as he was sent to collect a passenger at the Lowry Hotel.

And the granddad of five was stunned when the 78-year-old American star opened the door and sat on the back seat.

His favourite song ‘Someone’ – with the line ‘someone wants to say hello’ – was playing just as Mathis climbed in.

John said: “As this line of the song played the cab door opened and I heard a voice say ‘you’ve got good taste in music.’

“I turned around, saw it was Johnny and all I could think to say to him in return was ‘hiyah’. I had no idea who I was picking up before I arrived at the Lowry. My company was booked by the hotel concierge to pick up an ‘A class’ customer.

“My children have grown up listening to his music and my wife is a massive fan. I phoned my wife afterwards and said ‘you won’t believe who I’ve had in the back of my cab’ and she guessed Wayne Rooney.

“She screamed when I told her it was Johnny. This has definitely made my year,”

John continued to play the Greatest Hits collection during the 45-minute drive with his hero. And he overcame his nerves to tell him that they have similar names – he is known to friends and family as ‘John-E’ – and that he was sorry to miss out on getting tickets to his first Manchester show in three years.

Before dropping the Texan-born hitmaker off at the Mere Golf Resort and Spa in Knutsford, where he was due to play a round of golf, he couldn’t resist asking for a photo of the pair together, which Johnny happily obliged. He was also rewarded with a handshake and a hug from the performer.

John added: “I have all his albums and I seen him in concert loads of times, every time he has been over to the UK, apart from this one. Even when I lived in Spain I would fly in to see him. So I was gutted to miss him this time round.

“But this was better than going to the show. I feel like I got the cherry on the cake. I told that him that I had followed his career for many years and he hugged me. He told me that the Manchester public are beautiful.

“He’s an A class singer and his personality is just as good as his songs. He is a nice, pleasant guy.

“Luckily I always carry a camera in my black cab.

“After that I had to go straight home. I just couldn’t get over what had happened.

“I’m still buzzing from the experience now.

“I feel like all my birthdays and Christmases have come at once.”

source: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/

Apr 14

Drivers complain about new Leeds Bradford Airport charges

 

The new system replaces the airport’s Voyager scheme that allowed drivers free parking for an annual fee

Minicab drivers have complained after Leeds Bradford Airport introduced a £2 fee for dropping passengers off at the terminal building.

The new charge replaces a system that allowed cab drivers to pay a £25 annual fee which allowed them 30 minutes free parking.

The airport said free parking was still available nearby.

Simon Murphy, head of SJK Private Hire in north Leeds, said the rise was a “massive shock” to his business.

Mr Murphy said the free parking area was too far away from the terminal and passengers would pay more in taxi fares to reach the new drop-off zone.

“I’m just disappointed,” he said. “I need their help. They can’t do this to us.

“It is going to cost our business hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

In a statement, the airport said: “We have a dedicated free one-hour zone at Leeds Bradford Airport, which allows all of our users up to 60 minutes parking free of charge and all former members of the Voyager scheme are invited to use it.”

source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/

Apr 14

Taxi price hike plans help out hard-up drivers

New Taxi Union set up by Drivers of East Staffordshire.

TAXI chiefs have defended a potential raft of price hikes saying that they need to make the move to ‘help keep their heads above water’,

Mohammed Ikhlaq, chairman of the East Staffordshire Private Hire and Taxi Association, spoke out after details were revealed behind several increases that are set to be put in place in a move he said that the industry needs to survive.

The changes could include a 10p charge for every 15 seconds of waiting time, 50p for every piece of luggage past the first piece, 10p for every shopping bag after the first five and a £70 fee for anyone who is sick in a taxi.

Mr Ikhlaq told the Mail: “I know that many people will see this as a negative because some of the prices are going up but it is something we have to do to make sure that we keep our heads above water.

“Most taxi drivers in the town are not even making minimum wage and this is something that cannot go on.

“In terms of the charge for when people are sick in our cabs, yes this is rising from £45 to £70 but this covers not just the cleaning, but also the time that the taxi is off the road while this takes place.

“We don’t want to have to raise our charges but with added costs such as rising fuel and insurance prices, it is something we have had to do.

“We have a right to earn a living, a decent living and this is what we have to do to make sure that we can do that.

“People will not like it but, from our point of view, it is something we could not have done.”

There could also be a £1 charge for any taxi hire between 6pm and 5am. Wheelchair and pushchair access would still be free but it could cost £3 to transport a dog, cat or any kind of pet.

Read more: http://www.burtonmail.co.uk/

Apr 12

Revealed: Only 10% of cabbies pass Derby knowledge test

A TOUGH knowledge test which Derby cabbies have to pass to get a licence in the city has only a 10% pass rate – a figure which some drivers say back claims it’s too hard.

The exam has come under scrutiny after revelations that Derby Hackney carriage drivers were avoiding it by going to Gedling to get a licence as there has been no similar test there.

And that has infuriated drivers licensed in Derby, who point out those who go to Gedling are getting away with having less local knowledge.

And Derby City Council says there is a public safety issue as it has no powers to do safety checks on the vehicles and drivers licensed in Gedling. It also has no powers to investigate complaints and means Gedling Borough Council gets the licence fees.

Now Gedling has announced it will be introducing a knowledge test – even for those who already have a licence – which firms in Derby say will drive cabbies to try their luck with the city exam.

However, latest statistics show they could find it tough, with the council admitting the pass rate for each exam in 2013-14 was about 10%, with 200 drivers giving it a go.

The questions test knowledge of the local area, vehicle maintenance and licensing conditions.

Mark Keenan, manager of Derby-based Western Cars, says one reason for the low pass rate could be grasp of written English.

He said: “I wouldn’t have said it was too hard. It depends on how much time and effort people have put into revising.

“Also, there are about 1,000 taxi drivers that have passed the test. I’ve got 200. How did they do it?”

Muddasser Ahmed, manager of PJ Cars, in Derby, says the Gedling practice is perfectly legal and nothing to do with English.

He said: “These are people that speak and write perfectly good English and sometimes they try three or four times and fail.”

Gedling has decided that, from July, it will introduce its knowledge test for every driver with a licence in the borough, whether they are applying for a licence or already have one.

Mr Ahmed said he was calling on the city council to treat drivers caught up in the controversy as special cases – getting them to take a two-week course instead of the exam. But he said he was also encouraging drivers to swat up for the Derby exam.

He said: “All of those licensed in Gedling are completely stressed because they don’t know anything about the Nottingham area.

“These people spent £10,000 on insurance and cars only for this to happen.”

In Derby, drivers of both private hire and Hackney taxis must pass the knowledge test and pass a medical examination. Once they have done this, they must pass an NVQ Level 2 certificate in road passenger driving.

John Tomlinson, director of environmental and regulatory services at the city council, said of Mr Ahmed’s suggestion: “Anyone wanting to hold a licence in Derby will still be required to pass a knowledge test in Derby.”

Here are some examples of questions asked in the Derby knowledge test:

Q What is the road/street name where the following is located? The Council House

A Corporation Street, Derby

Q Describe the route you would take with a fare between the following locations? Derby Bus Station to Derbyshire County Cricket Ground

A Leaving bus station, turn left on to Morledge, take left hand lane on to Cockpitt and proceed on to St Alkmund’s Way taking left hand lane on to Darwin Place and into Eastgate. Take the left lane onto slip road to Pentagon Island. On roundabout, take second exit onto Nottingham Road and take first left into ground.

Q Please state what the private hire vehicle drivers’ licence condition state in relation to the following? Drivers age limit

A To hold a private hire drivers licence, the person shall have attained 21 years of age.

Q Describe how you would proceed to these locations from the city centre, stating the roads you would use? Kirk Hallam

A Leave Derby on A52 towards Nottingham. After approximately three miles, turn off the A52 at Spondon taking the slip road on to Lodge Lane. Follow the main road through Spondon village heading towards Ilkeston, passing through Sitwell Street, Moor Street and on to Dale Road. Follow Dale Road for approximately four miles, which leads directly into the centre of Kirk Hallam.

Read more: http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/

Apr 12

Drunk Colne girl poured cider on taxi driver

A DRUNKEN teenager who repeatedly abused a taxi driver in a pre-Christmas outburst was slammed as ‘rather common’ by a judge – who said her ‘revolting’ behaviour was ‘the sort you see on rather cheap TV programmes’.

Burnley Crown Court was told how Ainsley Wilkinson, 18, was one of four people in Ishan Butt’s cab just before midnight and was in the front passenger seat.

In the nightmare journey, Wilkinson, who was clutching a three-litre bottle of cider, repeatedly hit the radio, refused to pay Mr Butt, insulted him over and over again and broke his CCTV camera.

When they got to his taxi office, Mr Butt refused to take the group any further and Wilkinson then subjected him to the ‘ultimate indignity’ of pouring cider over him, emptying at least half a litre over his seats and windows.

The victim, 42, who works in the Colne area and who had asked the defendant to calm down several times during the ‘intimidating’ incident, was left shaken and scared and had thought he was going to be attacked.

Wilkinson had convictions for battery and theft as well as a caution for racially aggravated threatening behaviour.

The jobless defendant, of Cleveland Street, Colne, had admitted using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour and damage, last December 23. Defending, Jacob Dyer said she was obviously very drunk and was ‘out to make somebody else feel bad’.

Sentencing, Recorder Anthony Cross, QC, imposed a two-year community order, with 12 months’ supervision and a six month 7pm to 7am curfew.

He said: “You… were acting in a way which can only be described as revolting. People like you don’t bother about the feelings of other people.”

source: http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/

Apr 12

Drug dealing minicab driver jailed for three years

A minicab driver who was caught dealing drugs around Liverpool’s clubland was jailed.

Ramon Williams, 32, was stopped by police while driving his private hire car at the junction of Duke Street and Slater Street on February 21 last year because he had a broken rear light.

But the officers became suspicious of him and when he was searched he was found to have two bags of cocaine on him split into 1g and half a gram deals.

Christopher Taylor, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court the drugs weighed a total of 15.48g and were worth up to £774 at street level.

Williams, of Garmoyle Road, Wavertree, pleaded guilty to possession of class A drugs with intent to supply.

The court heard he had a previous conviction for dealing dating back to 2002 for which he had spent time in a young offenders institution.

David Evans, defending, said Williams had a young son who was autistic and relied on him for support and that he had only been dealing to pay off his own £2,000 drug debt.

He added it was: “A decision he now bitterly regrets.”

Judge David Aubrey, QC, said: “You were in fact plying two trades. One the trade of a driver, the other the trade of the drug dealer. In the court’s judgement that is a acute aggravating factor. You were in fact hiding behind the legitimacy of your business.”

Judge Aubrey jailed Williams for three years and ordered the Crown Prosecution Service to find out if he disclosed his previous convictions before he got his minicab license, as he claimed, and if so why he was allowed to work as a minicab driver.

source: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/

Apr 10

£10 Charles tip for ‘jolly trip’

The Prince of Wales took a “jolly trip” in a London cab today and the driver described his royal passenger as “a good lad”.

Charles tipped cabbie John Sheen, 75, with a £10 note as he pulled up at his final destination.

He was at St Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield, to celebrate the presentation of the Royal Charter to the Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers.

So while the Queen is in Rome to meet the Pope in the splendour of the Vatican, Charles spent his morning in the 12th century church with London cab drivers.

As he made his way in, Charles said he had a “jolly trip in the taxi”.

Mr Sheen, who has been a cab driver for 45 years, drove Charles from Clarence House and at the end of the journey, he was handed a tenner – the third £10 note he has received from the prince.

He drove a taxi with Charles in the back seat in 2004 on two trips, and was tipped £10 for each journey – and he has the notes framed, he said.

When asked what Charles was like as a passenger, Mr Sheen said: “Fantastic as always.”
Adding: “He’s a good lad.”

Talking about his conversation with Charles as they arrived at their final destination, he recalled: “He said ‘John, that was an excellent ride. You did a wonderful job. This is for you’.

“He gave me a tenner.”

Mr Sheen said he would get the note framed alongside the other banknotes Charles gave him.

Charles met members of the Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers who are all professionals who earn their living through the Hackney Carriage trade and include some of London’s black cab
drivers.

Speaking at the service, Charles praised the cab drivers for their “sound common sense” and the quality of service they provide.

Singling them out as one of the great service providers in the country, he said: “You are an institution. You are one of its great traditions.”

Charles also commented on the “extraordinary selflessness” involved in the Company’s annual Children’s Magical Taxi Tour.

A convoy of over 100 taxis transports chronically sick children and their families to Disneyland Paris for the weekend.

James Cannon, a nine-year-old, who was on the trip last year presented Charles with a picture of Mickey Mouse for his grandson Prince George.

James, who is currently in remission but suffered from eye cancer, said making the presentation was
“very exciting”.

His mother said she found the event very emotional.

Claire Cannon, from Hullbridge in Essex, said: “I was crying my eyes out. We’re very proud of him.

“I didn’t think we’d be standing here. He’s a lovely boy.”

In 2013 The Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers were granted a Royal Charter.

The Company is the 104th Livery Company of the City of London, having received Grant of Livery in February 2004.

In 2004 Charles gave a reception for London cab drivers to pay tribute to the charity work that many of the drivers do, including their work helping underprivileged children.

source: http://money.aol.co.uk/

Apr 09

TfL invites trades to help shape regulatory framework for taxi and private hire apps

Smart phone apps offer significant potential benefits to passengers, drivers and operators

Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed that it welcomes the use of taxi and private hire apps to benefit passengers, subject to those apps meeting the high standards of public safety TfL expects.   TfL is inviting the taxi and private hire trades to provide their views on how the regulatory framework should be applied to this rapidly developing technology, while ensuring that the current highest standards of public safety and customer service in the trades are maintained.   The development of taxi and private hire booking apps offer tremendous potential benefits for customers. 

This includes enhanced safety and security measures – with many apps providing the passenger with a photo of the driver and their name, the registration of the vehicle and the ability to track both the approach of the vehicle and the remainder of the journey in real time.   However, the rapid pace at which smart phone based technology has been developing in recent years has led to a need for clarity about what is required in order for apps to comply with the regulatory framework in London. 

TfL is seeking to clarify that position and has asked the taxi and private hire trades for their input to formalise the regulatory framework and ensure there is a level playing field for all operators.   Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: `We welcome developments that make life easier for passengers. 

`As in many other areas of transport and retail services, apps can offer passengers the potential of better and more convenient services. 

`We are asking the trades to embrace these advances in technology, which have the potential to further improve London’s taxi and private hire services, and have asked them to be part of the formal process to help shape the regulatory framework in this rapidly developing area.’   Constructive meetings were held recently with both the private hire and taxi trades on this issue. 

Discussions focused on the use of apps for private hire vehicle bookings, with TfL presenting its provisional views on the use of apps, which are as follows:

  • Apps can put a customer in touch with licensed private hire operators, either by signposting a customer to a choice of licensed operators or by transmitting a customer’s data directly to a specific licensed operator.  Apps that deliver this service do not in themselves ‘make provision’ for the invitation or acceptance of private hire bookings.  Only a licensed operator can ‘make provision’ for the invitation or acceptance of a booking
  • While it is perfectly legal for an app to put a customer directly in touch with a licensed hackney carriage driver, any app that puts a customer directly in touch with a private hire driver without the booking being accepted by an operator first is illegal.  Even if the licensed driver is also a licensed operator, the booking must be accepted at the licensed premises.  A booking can not be accepted by a private hire operator in a vehicle or through a mobile phone on the street.  
  • Certain details, such as the date of the booking, must be recorded by operators before the start of each journey.  There is no obligation to record the main destination at the time of booking unless it is specified by the customer
  • There is no obligation to quote a fare when making a booking via a private hire app unless a quote is requested
  • 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

Further discussion with the taxi and private hire trades will take place in the coming weeks to help clarify the regulatory framework for this rapidly developing technology to ensure that the current highest standards of public safety and customer service in the trades are maintained.


 

  • Only a private hire operator licensed by TfL can make provision for the invitation or acceptance of, or accept, a booking for the purpose of private hire in London.  A licensed private hire operator has to meet a number of legal and regulatory requirements and is subject to regular compliance audits and checks to maintain public safety and promote a high quality service to customers.  
  • Any private hire operator found not to comply with these requirements will be subject to action which can include the suspension or revocation of its licence.  
  • Private hire apps may either direct a potential passenger to a choice of licensed private hire operators or transmit the passenger’s request directly to a licensed operator who will then accept and record the booking and allocate a driver.  From TfL’s perspective, the essential aspect is that an app facilitates a customer to be put in direct contact with a licensed private hire operator.  Any app that puts a passenger in direct contact with a driver for the purpose of a private hire is illegal and TfL will take appropriate action against the person responsible for the app.

 

source: http://origin.tfl.gov.uk/

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