New TfL policy ensures private hire remains safe, secure and convenient
Following London’s outlawing of Uber last year, and as more ride-sharing services increase in prominence, TfL’s new policy statement determines how such services will operate in the Capital…
Transport for London (TfL) has introduced a new policy in response to changes in the private hire industry and the new services that are now available, explaining how private hire and ride-sharing services will operate in the Capital in the future.
It has been designed to ensure London remains the world leader in regulating taxi and private hire services whilst maintaining the safety of passengers.
The Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) and ride-sharing market has undergone something of a dramatic transformation in recent years, as new technology and services from companies like Uber made it easier and cheaper to book rides through apps, resulting in a significant increase in people using PHV services.
The current legislation was introduced before these technologies were developed, so in response to the changing industry, TfL has consulted and implemented a number of changes to improve standards and address safety concerns. New regulations are being used to assess private hire drivers and applicants on safeguarding, disability, equality and knowledge of PHV legislation as part of an enhanced driver assessment package.
Proposals for consultation in relation to an advanced driving test, PHV operator fleet insurance and private hire vehicle signage are also being considered, along with the impact of removing the Congestion Charge exemption for PHVs.
New regulations could include strengthened requirements for operators to ensure clear policies on the prevention of offences, with named accountability at senior management level for safety and protection of personal data. They may also have to provide mechanisms that enable passengers to choose who they share with and all PHVs will have contingency insurance cover for ride-sharing.
Helen Chapman, Interim Director of Licensing, Regulation and Charging, said: “The private hire market is unrecognisable from when current legislation was introduced. The growth of ride-sharing and other advances mean that regulation must be fit for the next decade and not the last. Our vision sets out clearly how we will manage these new developments that improve convenience for customers, while ensuring safety remains our top priority. The document also makes clear that any new developments in the sector have to fit with the objectives of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy.”
The policy statement sets out TfL’s expectations for private hire and ride-sharing services in London, and its principles will inform future consultations on specific regulations. These will be designed with reference to the Mayor’s wider ambition for a safe, active, sustainable and efficient transport network for everyone.