Some time ago a fully partitioned, fully (PCO) licensed PH vehicle was spotted and photographed in the Finchley Rd, NW3. The LCDC have since made enquiries at the Public Carriage Office and as promised, we now have an update on this vehicle, plus a comment from the licensing authority the PCO.
The London Cab Drivers Club has now received information that the Private Hire vehicle in question is a FIAT TW 200 TAXI that incidentally is licensed as a Hackney Carriage in most boroughs outside London! This vehicle has been approved and licensed by the Public Carriage Office (PCO) as a PH vehicle. On closer examination the FIAT TW 200 has almost identical interior design as both the TX4 LTI taxi and the Mercedes Vito taxi; all that differentiates this vehicle from the licensed Hackney Carriage version is the “For Hire” sign and plate on the back are missing. My main concern is if the (PCO) let this be the norm and open the flood gates, what happens if Addison lee buy 2000 of these vehicles in black, and let’s not forget the touts. I think this would not only confuse the Public, but would almost definitely increase the risk factor to public safety that needs to be eradicated!
We have raised our concerns with the (PCO) and they have issued this statement as follows:
‘TfL have not formally announced any changes with regards to the use of driver shields for Private Hire vehicles. We fully understand the relevant regulations with regards to private hire vehicles and maintaining the distinction between vehicles used as taxis and for private hire’.
The club have asked for a meeting to discuss this matter further and we will keep you informed.
The LCDC are less than happy that PH vehicle specifications have now exceeded the clear defining boundaries laid out in the 1998 Private Hire (London) Act and will vigorously oppose the use of such vehicles.