Welcome to the latest instalment of In gear – a newsletter designed to keep you informed about forthcoming changes as we modernise the taxi and private hire licensing services delivered to you.
In this edition:
New TPH Contact Numbers | Update on Vehicle Licensing Service | New Licensing System | New Taxi Driver Licences and Identifiers | Guide to New Online Accounts for Licensees
In order to improve the service we give our customers, Transport for London is moving away from higher rate 084 and 087 contact numbers across the whole organisation.
These are being replaced with 03 numbers which are charged as a local rate number and are also included in many fixed line and mobile phone bundles
With effect from Tuesday 1 October 2013 this change will be implemented within London Taxi and Private Hire (TPH). The new numbers to contact us on are:
Driver and operator licensing queries 0343 222 4444 Vehicle licensing enquiries 0343 222 5555
The existing numbers will also remain open for a short period of time to allow customers to transition to using the new numbers.
Update on Vehicle Licensing Service
Our new vehicle licensing service went live in February and so far we have undertaken 10,900 taxi and 22,654 Private Hire Vehicle inspections.
The overall feedback from customers is positive and now that the new service has settled into a steady state, we will be looking to undertake a customer satisfaction survey in the near future. The survey will be carried out at each of the six inspection centres over the course of a week. If you are asked to take part then please do take the time to answer all the questions as your feedback is important to us.
You can book a vehicle inspection by calling 0343 222 5555.
We will also soon be launching our new online service and once this is live you will be able to book your vehicle inspection online. Keep an eye out for more information about this in the coming weeks.
New Licensing System
Over the past three years we have been working hard to deliver a more efficient and modern licensing service to you and today we take another large step in this programme of work as we launch our new licensing system for drivers and operators.
Whilst our old licensing systems were heavily paper based and disparate, the new system called TOLA provides an end to end licensing system for TPH staff. While you may not realise the benefits immediately, once we have bedded in the new system and new ways of working it will speed up the licensing process and make the whole process much more transparent.
In the near future you will also be able to apply and renew online as well as track the progress of your application. We have no doubt that it will take time for the new system to settle in and we appreciate your patience during this transition.
To enable us to migrate data to the new system from our old systems, and to allow for final staff refresher training sessions our Customer Support lines will be unavailable for the remainder of today – Monday 30 September. We are sorry if this causes any inconvenience. However, any enquiries can be directed to TPH.Enquiries@tfl.gov.uk and from Tuesday 1 October 2013 you can contact our Customer Support team on 0343 222 4444.
Please do be patient with our staff as while they have undergone extensive training, nothing can replace using the system in a live environment. This does mean we anticipate an increase in call answering and handling times for the next few weeks.
Please rest assured that if you are one of the drivers impacted by recent changes to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and are currently unable to work, we are regularly checking every day for the results of new disclosures. Any results received for renewal applicants whose licences have expired, or are close to expiring, are treated as a high priority case. We aim to make decision on these high priority applications within 24 hours of receiving the results of the disclosure.
Benefits of the New System
Our new licensing system brings a range of improvements to the way we work. As well as helping us move away from paper based files which can taker longer to process than the new electronic applications, the system will also improve our operational capabilities.
We will be issuing compliance officers with handheld devices. These will enable the compliance team to undertake on-street licensing checks on drivers, operators or vehicles in real time.
Handhelds will be capable of scanning barcodes printed on the new licences, which will instantly bring up the licence holder’s details. Handhelds will also allow the printing of notices on street, enabling the compliance team to spend less time in the office completing paperwork and more time conducting enforcement activities.
Additionally, as the new system will allow operators to upload details of drivers and vehicles online in the future, part of the compliance inspection will be able to be completed remotely.
New Taxi Driver Licences and Identifiers
Transport for London will commence issuing replacement taxi driver licences and identifiers to all licensed London taxi drivers from October 2013.
The new licences and identifiers will be of a similar design to existing ones but will contain a number of new security features, including a hologram and a barcode unique to the driver. In addition, following feedback from the trade, the new suburban identifiers have a larger space to show the areas in which a driver is licensed to ply for hire.
Drivers should display their replacement identifiers and carry the copy of their replacement licence as soon as they receive them. Drivers renting taxis should give the original licence to the owner of the taxi and ask for the return of the existing licence.
Accompanying the new documents will be instructions advising how to return existing documents to TfL.
We will shortly be issuing a TPH notice containing further information about the new licences and identifiers.
Guide to New Online Accounts for Licensees
As part of our new vehicle licensing service and modernisation programme, we will shortly be introducing new functionality for licensees. Once live, this system will enable all licensees to manage their licences and applications through a new online account, allowing us to move away from our current paper based file system.
Later on this year you will receive a letter from us providing details of your individual account and a password. Once you have received this letter you will be able to use this information to access your new online account through our website. Keep an eye out for the letter in the coming months.
As we have records for a number of licences with the same address, or more than one business name linked to an address, you may receive more than one set of account details. Don’t worry if this happens – we will include instructions about how to contact us to get these accounts merged.
We really believe the move to a new licensing system and the imminent introduction of online accounts will revolutionise the way we work and the service we offer, making our licensing process more efficient and effective for you.
If you would like to be included on the distribution list for our regular In Gear bulletins, please email TPH.Enquiries@tfl.gov.uk or alternatively all information on our new vehicle licensing service can be found at http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tph