Once again are London Taxi & Private Hire(LT&PH) failing in their duty to protect the travelling public in London ?.
Manchester City council had concerns for the public safety back in 2008 when the Mercedes Vito Taxi was licensed to ply for Hire in Manchester. So worried about the introduction of the Vito Taxi working alongside the Vito six seater that is being used by Private Hire Drivers in Manchester that the council held a consultation.
The outcome was that they decided to introduced colour coded Taxis and Private Hire vehicles, where all Taxis had to be black and Private Hire vehicle’s had to be all silver.
It is now become apparent that LT&PH don’t hold the same fears for the travelling public in London .
LT&PH had a golden opportunity when they held a Private Hire Consultation recently to address this serious situation and other major problems within the private hire industry.
Under vehicles proposal they included in the PH consultation paper.
It has been suggested that in order to maintain the distinction between private hire vehicles and taxis and avoid any confusion for the travelling public with regards to what vehicles can be used to ply for hire that TfL should introduce restrictions on the types of vehicles that can be licensed as private hire vehicles and/or introduce additional requirements or the colour of private hire vehicles and taxis.
In particular it is suggested that:
• Vehicles that are used in other licensing areas as taxis which are purpose built or adapted vehicles with permanent fitted partitions between the driver and passengers and ‘taxi style’ rear facing seating arrangements in the rear should not be licensed as private hire vehicles;
• Vehicles that are used as private hire vehicles (with exemptions for certain types such as limousines or specialised vehicles) are a single, standard colour or have a single standard colour scheme similar to requirements adopted in many other Local Authorities. It has been proposed that a single colour could be silver as this is the most marketable colour if the vehicle is being re-sold in future;
•Similar restrictions may be applied to the colours permitted for taxis.
These requirements could be introduced over a number of years to allow existing vehicles to be phased out of private hire use.
Respondents are asked to consider:
i. Whether they agree that the travelling public are currently confused with regards to what vehicles can ply for hire in London and any evidence they are able to provide to support this?
ii. Whether the possible licensing by TfL of vehicles as private hire vehicles that are used or adapted as taxis in London or in other areas of the UK will lead to increased confusion with passengers?
iii. What they believe passengers feel are the distinctive features of a licensed London taxi that clearly distinguishes it from a private hire vehicle and what evidence they may have to support this?
iv. Whether they believe it is appropriate for TfL to introduce further restrictions on the licensing of certain types and makes of vehicles that may resemble licensed London taxis both externally and internally?
v. Whether they believe it is appropriate for TfL to introduce restrictions/requirements on the colour of taxis and/or private hire vehicles. One example could be that all taxis must be black and that all private hire vehicles can be a particular colour such as silver or any colour other than black? What if any.
LT&PH could have taken a number of steps to insure public safety in London.
1. They could have introduced a colour coded scheme were all taxis are black and all PH vehicles become silver. This I belive would have been a massive upheaval for all concerned.
2. There is now roughly 1200 Vito’s and 800 Viano’s licensed for private hire use in London, they could have phased out 2000 vehicles over a couple of years without too much financial loss to those concerned.
With sexual assaults at a high in the capital, LT&PH should have used the PH Consultation more constructively, with their outcome with regards to the Vito Taxi in London we accept that the Vito Taxi as many different appearance’s to the Vito Ph but as the law state’s in the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998.
That a Private hire minicab,Is not of such design and appearance as would lead any person to believe that the vehicle is a London cab;
but it certainly is of the same design because a VITO is a VITO be it a van a six seater or a Taxi.
There is more Vito Taxis licensed to ply for hire in London then the Vito six seater’s licensed for PH use in London.
When (LT&PH) was asked in a compliance meeting would they license a TX2 or a TX4 for Private Hire use if the hire light and the plate on the back had been removed, their response was definitely not because it is a Taxi, so why can’t these’s so-called intelligent people running our licensing department see the comparison’s between the two sets of vehicles licensed in the capital .
So what happens if the Vito taxi takes a bigger share of the taxi market, this is why I feel that the police should take back control of all licensing in the capital because, they will implement the Law and not make policies on trying to keep parties happy.
But once again like in the Private Hire Motorbike Consultation Farce (LT&PH) have adopted for the ( QUITE LIFE POLICY )
The London Cab Drivers Club will be requesting (LT&PH) to provide a detailed response, how they have come to this shocking outcome .