Recently the LCDC sent out a small questionaire to some PH companies and there trade mags, we asked just 2 questions and the response we got from PH & Courier was for them to print a 3 page response in this months mag . These are the 2 question’s the club asked

I am writing to you to ask if you would participate in a short Questionnaire, please answer the entire Questions as honest and best you can within your professional capability.

Please read the follow legislation and answer the following Questions

Chapter 34 of the 1998 Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act) clearly states:

(A) that the vehicle-

(1) is suitable in type, size and design for use as a private hire vehicle-

(2) is safe, comfortable and in a suitable mechanical condition for that use; and


Do you think the above legislation applies to Mercedes vito six seaters licensed as a private hire vehicle, and the Mercedes Vito Taxi?

1 yes

 2 no

3 don’t know

4 give your own view

Please read the following legislation and answer the following Questions :

Criminal justice and public order act 1994

taxi touts (6) “public place” includes any highway and any other premises or place to which at the material time the public have or are permitted to have access( whether on payment or otherwise);and “public services vehicle” and “PSV operators license” have the same meaning as in part two of the public passenger vehicles ACT 1981.

Do you think the above legislation applies to?

1. A person touting with a clipboard outside a venue

2. A person touting with a clipboard inside a venue

3. A person touting inside and outside a venue with a clipboard

4. No does not apply

5. don’t know

6. give your own view


 And the response from PH & Courier is printed below its funny how just 2 questions can get the private hire mob so twitchy.


IT MIGHT not always feel like it but the London private hire trade has enjoyed

an almost unparalleled run of success over the last few years .

The 1998 Private Hire Licensing (London)

Act brought legitimacy and respectability to the old minicab industry and campaigns for congestion charge exemption, signage, red route and royal park access have created an almost level playing field with the capital’s black cabs.

Nothing lasts forever though and there are signs that a season of famine could be on its way for the London private hire trade after the many years of (regulatory) feast


Transport for London (TfL) has already sent out a warning shot across the bows of the capital’s PHV trade by stating (in TfL Notice 15/10) that “no further applications for private hire operating centres with venues will be processed”. And there is a real fear that the black cabs are also scheming to get existing PHV licences revoked.

PHC was recently sent a slightly strange email questionnaire from the London Cab Drivers Club and the subject matter had us scratching our heads as to what it was about all about. The two questions ) were apparently sent to trade-related companies and ALL OVER? Do the black cab trade want to revoke PHV venue licences?


PHC believes, designed to lead the reader into giving a particular response Question One asks for a view on whether or not a private hire licensed Mercedes Vito (and possibly other MPV-style vehicles) are is presented in such a way as to appear to want a ‘Yes’ answer.

Likewise, Question Two asks for an opinion on PHV licence staff at venues and gives the impression that it wants folk to say that clubbers and restaurant-goers are being touted illegally and thus. Now this is all very strange. Why is the London Cab Drivers Club apparently trying to guide people into saying that some private hire vehicles look like taxis and that venue licence operators might be working outside of the law?


Why indeed? Are black cab organisations trying to drum up support in favour of their own position in the hope that TfL can be persuaded to ditch operator venue licences and MPV-style phv

It is a possibility and a not very welcome one at that.

 If so, that would truly be outrageous.

It is one thing to stop private hire drivers from using TX4s, or anything that looks like a black cab. But to ban them from using people- carrier style cars simply because the hackney trade now use them is completely unacceptable. The Mercedes Vito has proved popular with the capital’s taxi drivers but that is no reason for TfL to bow to any demand to stop private hire drivers from using them as well. More private hire drivers have a Vito or similar as their choice of vehicle than hackney drivers and more to the point, were using them first.

TfL simply cannot allow itself to be bullied into restricting the choice of vehicles used by the private hire trade just because black cab drivers have gone off the LTI TX4. And where would it all end? If car makers re-jig their vehicles to match the TfL turning circle requirement then the private hire trade could in theory be left with the Ford Fiesta as the only car legally available.

This may be taking the argument to extremes but why on earth should London’s taxi drivers dictate which vehicles can and cannot be used by private hire drivers?


In short there can be little doubt that some sort of confrontation with the taxi industry is on the cards. Years of recession have left the hackney trade desperate to get back the London night-_time work it abandoned to the private hire trade and they appear happy to use whatever tactics it takes to snatch back a larger slice of the hire & reward passenger pie.

The taxi trade’s Trafalgar Square demo in February 2009 was clearly seen to influence the authorities in deciding whether or not to continue with the private hire booking office in Leicester Square and the parking zone in Whitcomb Street. And flush with success, the black cabs now appear to have venue licences and MPVs in their sights.

Transport for London in general and taxi and private hire director John Mason in particular are under extreme pressure to listen and act on the taxi trade demands and their decision may just be a simple, practical, political one.

The choice may well boil down to just this; which cab trade is most likely to cause TfL the most hassle and public embarrassment?

5 thoughts on “IS THE TIDE ABOUT TO TURN !!

  1. Hi, Private Hire Driver from Chester…Can sympathise with the Hackney boys a little it would seem the vehicle manufacturers are after the best of both worlds, moving away from the traditional Hackney…..
    A well worn saying ‘ we all have to make a crust ‘ brings a modicum of common sense to the argument from where I stand…though we all have to stay within the law’ licensing authorities are just as guilty for setting the Hackney and Private Hire trade against each other…
    I’ve been on the road for seventeen years in Chester and seen some stunts pulled by the council a favourite one they use is placing Hackney ranks as close to Private Hire premises as they can….

  2. Spot on LCDC Once again the Club ” Walk The Walk ” where the others just ” Talk The Talk “….thats why I am a member, 100% London Taxi Drivers, and not a driver from Luton or Reading in sight.!

  3. The comments of PHC sadly re- confirm just how unaware the PH trade is of the laws that govern them. PHC say that the taxi trade are demanding that they should not be able to use the Vito. If they understood or even just perused the PH Act, 1998, they would understand that it is the law that says they may not use a vehicle that could be mistaken for a taxi – not the taxi trade.

    The idea of the taxi trade forcing PH to stop using MPVs as PHVs is laughable. Either they know this or there are a bunch of chimps producing a magazine. Although PH could never be barred from using MPVs, they do have a point. If the COF on turning circle were to be relaxed, there would be a larger range of vehicles available for use as taxis ( note to PHC: you still could not get a wheelchair in a Ford Focus).

    The answer to that dilemma would be to have taxis in a single colour and PHVs in a single colour distinct from that of taxis. For example, all taxis black and all PHVs white. Then, even if a Vito was being used as a PHV it could not be mistaken for a taxi.

    If PHC, along with the rest of the PH trade were to simply read the PH Act, 1988, they will then realise that it is the law that says what vehicles may be used; it is the law that says that the way 100% of satellite operators operate is illegal; it is the law that says every PHV that parks up on the road by a satellite office, or an operator’s premises, etc or responds to a street hail is illegal.

    All the taxi tade asks for is the level playing field that PHC bangs on about i.e. for the PH trade to operate within the law and when they do not do so, ask that there be enough enforcement of the law to discourage PH from breaking it. Just like the taxi trade do.

  4. Micky you are spot on even they say in the first paragraph they have had it all to good for the last ten years. At our exspense our trade has been completly taken apart piece by piece to allow PH to get it’s foot in the door. Let’s hope the powers at be start to listen to us and let’s hope some of your questions are answered in the up coming PH consulation. If there not I think it could be Game , Set And Match to the Private Hire Trade !!

  5. Consultation! Consultation!! Consultation!!! = In my opinion, the tosh, the whole tosh, and nothing but the tosh.

    The one and only question to be asked by us is, are you TFL , etc. going to enforce the law and remove the illegal mini cab ranks and clipboard jonnies and Jane’s, starting with the rank in Charing Cross Road.

    It should be stated that, if no such undertaking has been received by 11pm Friday September 3rd 2010 and consequently this trade is at war with TFL,etc.

    All we want is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

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