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
(3) IS NOT OF SUCH A DESIGN AND APPEARANCE AS WOULD LEAD ANY PERSON TO BELIEVE THAT THE VEHICLE IS A LONDON CAB
Do you think the above legislation applies to Mercedes vito six seaters licensed as a private hire vehicle, and the Mercedes Vito Taxi?
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
ARE THE GOOD TIMES OVER?
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
STORM CLOUDS ARE APPROACHING
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?
IS THE TIDE ABOUT TO TURN?
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 THE QUESTIONS?
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?
PREPARE FOR BATTLE?
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?