PRIVATE HIRE operators, drivers, suppliers and regulators attended an emergency Licensed Private Hire Car Assocation (LPHCA) trade summit at the Heathrow Marriot Hotel to debate a number of issues that concern the industry. There was also a summary on the London Operator Licence Fees proceedings, which are being heard in the High Court on April 25.
Delegates voiced their opinions on trade problems, including; CCTV in PHVs and taxis, the restriction of driving hours for cab drivers, the possibility of expensive medical tests, the regulation of pedicabs and ride sharing.
LPHCA chairman Steve Wright then chaired a Q&A session, calling for a set of national PHV standards and no more changes to cab licence regulations. This was endorsed by a unanimous vote from the floor.
The Q&A session was followed by a debate on, “regulators getting things badly wrong” and included, TfL’s English Language Tests, the ABBA proposal (only picking-up & dropping-off in the area a driver is licensed in), the potential loss of Congestion Charge exemption and the London Operator Licence Fees.
Private hire drivers also spoke out against the TfL English Language Test, including Mohammed Arjaz (39 years in the industry) and Haroon Khan (12 years). They highlighted how they, their family and their colleagues in the industry would be badly affected because the level of testing was too high for the role of minicab driver.
Mr Arjaz said he had never claimed a benefit in 50 years of working, other than his pension, but that the overly-prescriptive English Language Test would force him into retirement and leave him relying on the state to survive.
The LPHCA meeting ended with a call to recruit more members and raise money for the fighting funds. Around 50 people attended the afternoon session to form a fundraising and membership recruitment committee.