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TfL’s latest regulation proposals could have profound implications for the way the London private hire trade operates. If you care about your profession, read the consultation below and make sure you reply by December 23.


PRIVATE HIRE OPERATORS

OPERATORS MUST PROVIDE A BOOKING CONFIRMATION TO PASSENGERS CONTAINING THE  DRIVER ID PHOTO AND DETAILS OF THE VEHICLE BEING USED FOR THE BOOKING

PROPOSAL

We propose that operators must provide driver and vehicle identification in advance to the journey commencing. Photographic evidence for the driver must be provided if the customer has provided means by which such transformation can be transmitted.

QUESTION 1

Do you agree with the above proposal? If you don’t, please explain why.


5-minute-clockOPERATORS MUST PROVIDE BOOKING CONFIRMATION DETAILS TO THE PASSENGER AT LEAST FIVE MINUTES PRIOR TO THE JOURNEY PROPOSAL

We propose a time interval between a booking being accepted and the commencement of that journey, to allow the driver and vehicle information to be communicated to passengers. It is proposed that the specified time limit will be five minutes.

QUESTION 2

Do you agree with our proposal for a time delay between a journey booking and the commencement? If you don’t agree, please explain why.

QUESTION 3

Do you think that a different time interval to five minutes is appropriate? If you do, please say what

you consider an appropriate time interval and why.


OPERATORS WILL NEED TFL APPROVAL BEFORE CHANGING THEIR OPERATING MODEL

PROPOSAL

We propose that operators inform TfL prior to implementing specified changes to their operating model.

QUESTION 4

Do you agree with our proposal? If you don’t agree, please explain why.


SECURITY FOR APP BASED PLATFORMS

PROPOSAL

To prevent unauthorised use we propose to make it a requirement that app based platforms have and can demonstrate during pre-licensing checks and compliance inspections, appropriate measures to prevent the app being used by a person other the licensed driver they are allocating bookings too.

QUESTION 5

What are your views on ensuring that app based platforms are

secure and do not allow passenger or driver fraud?

QUESTION 6

Do you believe that there is technology available to achieve this and if so, what technology do you believe we consider?


OPERATORS MUST OFFER A FACILITY TO PRE-BOOK UP TO SEVEN DAYS IN ADVANCE

PROPOSAL

Our proposal is that operators should be required to offer advance booking facilities of up to seven days. This would widen choice for PHV customers.

It may also assist disabled passengers to secure journeys, as they often have to book in advance.

QUESTION 7

Do you agree with our proposal? If you don’t, please say why.

QUESTION 8

Do you consider a period other than seven days to be

appropriate? If you do, please say why.


Fabric-and-PHVsTFL PROPOSES TO NO LONGER ISSUE IN-VENUE LICENCES

PROPOSAL

TfL proposes to no longer issue operating licences in respect of in-venue operations and for temporary events.

QUESTION 9

Do you agree with our proposal? If you don’t, please say why.

QUESTION 10 

How would you propose that venues and

temporary events ensure safe and adequate transportation options for those attending such events?


OPERATORS MUST HAVE A FIXED LANDLINE PHONE THAT IS AVAILABLE FOR PASSENGER USE AT ALL TIMES

PROPOSAL

We propose to amend the PHV regulations to require all licensed private hire operators to have a landline number available at all times so passengers can speak to operator staff for the purpose of customer care, complaints and the booking of private hire journeys.

The number of staff managing customer telephone enquiries will be required to be consumerate with the size of the operator and the volume of private hire bookings

QUESTION 11

Do you agree with our proposal? If you don’t agree, please say why.


OPERATORS MUST NOT SHOW VEHICLES AVAILABLE FOR IMMEDIATE HIRE, EITHER VISIBLY OR VIRTUALLY VIA AN APP?

PROPOSAL

We propose to amend the PHV regulations to require operators to ensure that private hire vehicles are not visibly shown to be available for immediate hire, whether physically (eg: signage or otherwise on the street) or via an app or other means.

QUESTION 12

Do you agree with our proposal? If you don’t agree, please say why.


OPERATORS WILL BE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE SPECIFIED INFORMATION, INCLUDING DETAILS OF ALL DRIVERS AND VEHICLES, ON A REGULAR BASIS

PROPOSAL

We propose to require operators to provide TfL with information in such form, content and at such intervals, including details of drivers and vehicles.

QUESTION 13

Do you agree with our proposal? If you don’t agree, please say why not.


OPERATORS MUST SPECIFY THE FARE PRIOR TO A BOOKING BEING ACCEPTED

PROPOSAL

We propose to require operators to provide a specified fare prior to the booking being accepted.

QUESTION 14

Do you agree with our proposal? If you don’t, please say why.


OPERATORS MUST RECORD THE MAIN DESTINATION FOR EACH JOURNEY, WHICH MUST BE SPECIFIED AT THE TIME OF BOOKING

PROPOSAL

We propose to amend the operator regulations to require the operator to record the main destination of private hire journeys, which must be specified at the time the booking is made.

QUESTION 15

Do you agree with our proposal? If you don’t agree, please say why.


FilesHARMONISE RETENTION PERIODS FOR RECORDS PROPOSAL

We propose to amend the retention period for records under the operator regulations to be 12 months where it is currently six.

QUESTION 16

Do you agree with our proposal? If you don’t agree, please say why.


LIMIT ON THE NUMBER OF BUSINESS NAMES ATTACHED TO EACH OPERATOR LICENCE

PROPOSAL

We propose a limit of five on the number of business names attached to each operator’s licence.

QUESTION 17

Do you agree with our proposal? If you don’t agree, please say why.


PRIVATE HIRE DRIVERS

SPECIFIC REQUIREMENT FOR AN ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEST

PROPOSAL

We will make regulations that will require drivers to demonstrate they have sufficient knowledge of the English language at an intermediate level. The requirement will be applied to all new driver applicants and renewals.

QUESTION 18

Do you agree with our proposal? If you don’t agree, please say why.

QUESTION 19

What standard do you think it would be appropriate for applicants to demonstrate?


DRIVERS TO ONLY WORK FOR ONE OPERATOR AT A TIME

PROPOSAL

We propose to make it an amendment that a PHV driver must be registered to a licensed operator and may only be registered to a single operator at any time.

QUESTION 20

Do you agree with our proposal? If you don’t, please say why.


DRIVER & OPERATOR LICENCE APPLICANTS TO PROVIDE NATIONAL INSURANCE NUMBERS AND SHARE WITH THE DEPARTMENT FOR WORK & PENSIONS

PROPOSAL

Whilst a NI number is not proof of identity, it does provide an additional safeguard to other identity checks.

We propose an application requirement to provide a NI number for private hire driver and operator licences (where the operator is an individual).

QUESTION 21

Do you agree with our proposal? If you don’t, please say why.


VEHICLE LICENCE TO BE REVOKED IF DRIVER LICENCE IS REVOKED

PROPOSAL

There is no ‘fit and proper’ requirement for the owners of PHVs and the 1998 Act suggests that the suspension or revocation of a licence can only be a reason connected to the fitness of the vehicle for use as a PHV.

This is causing concern in situations, where a driver is convicted of a sexual offence or touting in a licensed vehicle and may attempt to keep working (while unlicensed).

Where a licensed driver has their driver’s licence revoked and that driver is the owner of a licensed vehicle, then we will also revoke their vehicle licence.

QUESTION 22

Do you agree with our proposal? If you don’t agree, please say why.


CHECK ON CONVICTIONS OF OPERATOR STAFF

PROPOSAL

We propose to mandate operators to undertake checks on all employees who come into contact with passengers and booking details.

We will seek to add operator staff to the DBS list and amend the regulations accordingly.

As an interim measure we will require operators to ask employees to provide a basic disclosure.

QUESTION 23

Do you agree with our proposal? If you don’t agree, please say why.


NO LONGER ACCEPT PAYMENT BY PO & CHEQUE PROPOSAL

Only a small number of payments are made by postal order or cheque, however, TfL incurs significant costs in processing them. From 1 April 2016 we will no longer accept cheques or postal orders as payment.

QUESTION 24

Do you agree with this proposal? If you don’t agree, please say why.


PRIVATE HIRE INSURANCE HIRE & REWARD INSURANCE TO BE CHECKED AT THE POINT OF LICENSING

PROPOSAL

We propose to check Hire & Reward insurance at the point of vehicle licensing and insurance will be required to remain in place for the duration of the licence.

No licence will be issued without the evidence that the appropriate insurance is in place.

QUESTION 25

Do you agree with our proposal? If not, please say why.


DRIVERS TO CARRY OR DISPLAY INSURANCE DETAILS AT ALL TIMES

PROPOSAL

We propose to amend the drivers’ regulations to the effect that private hire drivers must carry a copy of their insurance documents at all times.

QUESTION 26

Do you agree with our proposal? If not, please say why.

QUESTION 27

If you agree, should the driver be required to display the insurance in the vehicle? If you don’t agree, please say why.


Insurance-policyHIRE & REWARD FLEET INSURANCE IN PLACE BY OPERATORS

PROPOSAL

Fleet insurance would ensure that customers are protected in case the driver is uninsured or if their insurance is in any way invalidated.

QUESTION 28

Do you agree that Hire & Reward insurance put in place by operators is necessary in addition to, or instead of, individual insurance cover? If you don’t agree, please say why.


PRIVATE HIRE LICENSING

OPERATOR LICENCE TYPE

PROPOSAL

It has been suggested that we should look at additional category / categories that better reflect and recover the costs of the licensing, compliance and enforcement functions.

We will review the current operator licence type and look to introduce additional category / categories.

QUESTION 29

Do you agree with our proposal? If you don’t agree, please say why.


CONTROLS ON RIDE-SHARING IN LICENSED PHVS

PROPOSAL

We intend to explore measures to ensure that private hire vehicles cannot be used for ride sharing purposes in unless there are very clear controls in place to protect the safety of passengers and drivers.

QUESTION 30

Do you support the above proposal? If not, why not?


AMENDMENT OF ADVERTISING REGULATION TO INCLUDE ‘IN’ VEHICLE

PROPOSAL

We are proposing a small change to regulation 8 of the vehicle regulations which will clarify that advertising displayed “from” as well as “on” a vehicle is subject to the controls set out in that regulation.

QUESTION 31

Do you agree with our proposal? If you don’t agree, please say why.


ADDITIONAL MEASURES

TOPOGRAPHICAL SKILLS

We will introduce a significant enhancement in the content, management and delivery of the PHV Topographical Skills Assessment and an applicants understanding of the rules that govern private hire licensing.

COMPLAINTS

As an interim step, operators will provide reports to TfL on a periodic basis providing a summary of all complaints and a full breakdown of complaints related to private hire driver behaviour or problems relating to vehicles.

We will then establish a more formal role for private hire complaints, providing a fair and independent process for customers not satisfied with private hire services.

DISABILITY AWARENESS TRAINING

Private hire drivers cannot discriminate against disabled passengers and training will protect both the passenger and the driver.

We will include a requirement that introduces training for private hire drivers to include disability awareness.

All new licence applicants will be expected to undertake the training prior to becoming licensed.

DRIVER TRAINING

Driver training will help to raise the standards of PHV drivers with clear benefits to customers and other members of the travelling public.

We are considering further what elements this should take and how it should be delivered.

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PHC Magazine

PHC Magazine