Transport for London approves clampdown on Uber and minicab drivers

Transport for London has today approved plans to curb the soaring number of Uber cars and minicabs by using English and geography tests alongside beefed up insurance requirements.

Drivers will now have to take basic English language and “Knowledge-lite” style geography tests before driving in the capital.

Minicab drivers also face a crackdown on insurance requirements to ensure passengers are covered for accidents.

The TfL board approved all but one of Boris Johnson’s proposals to crackdown on minicabs at their meeting this afternoon.

Plans to scrap “men with clipboards” outside nightclubs who were licensed to provide minicabs have been put on hold and will be reconsidered at a later date.

The Mayor has come under growing pressure to do more to curb London’s 25,000-vehicle strong Uber, which the black cab trade claims is driving it out of business.

But in a statement, Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the London Taxi Drivers’ Association (LDTA), said the changes did not go far enough.

He said: “TfL has wasted a huge opportunity to improve standards within the private hire industry for the benefit of drivers, passengers and other road users.

“The review of private hire regulations was aimed at improving passenger safety, and most of the proposals were sensible and endorsed by the LTDA.

“We are pleased TfL has committed to taking some of them forward, but as result of undue influence, TfL has not gone anywhere far enough.

“Introducing Hire and Reward operator insurance is the only way to categorically ensure that all passengers travelling in a private hire vehicle (PHV) in London are covered in the event of an accident.

“The failure to take this proposal forward means uninsured PHVs will continue to operate in the capital, putting Londoners at risk. The next mayor needs to address this issue as a matter of priority.

The number of private hire drivers has grown from 59,000 in April 2010 to about 100,000 today, contributing to congestion, pollution and illegal parking.

Mr Johnson has previously failed to persuade the Government to allow him to cap the number of minicabs.