GERALD SILVERSTEIN’S LAST hope of working as a PHV driver has been finally dashed after a reply to his MP from Transport for London’s (TfL) managing director of surface transport Leon Daniels refused to acknowledge the licensing authority had set impossible criteria for him to qualify for a five year extension to his ten year vehicle licence.
PHC has highlighted Mr Silverstein’s battle with a stubborn and unyielding licensing authority over the last few months, but a letter from Daniels to the PHV driver’s member of parliament, Matthew Offord, means he is now unemployed.
In the letter, Daniels wrote: “I am aware that Mr Silverstein submitted an application for his vehicle to receive an exemption to the ten year Private Hire Vehicle Age Limit Requirements in April. This application was made under the alternative fuel conversion criteria – in this instance on the basis of an LPG conversion to his vehicle.
“We have been unable to issue the exemption Mr Silverstein has sought and I am satisfied that the correct decision has been made.”
TFL IS WRONG
TfL has tried to blame Mr Silverstein for not fulfilling the correct criteria to qualify for a five year exemption certificate but this is simply not true.
The 62 year old private hire driver followed TfL’s rules and guidance to the letter but the licensing authority put impossible criteria in place for private hire drivers to convert their vehicles from diesel to LPG and have refused to admit they made a mistake.
TfL’s rules dictate that diesel to LPG conversions can only qualify for the five year extension when the details have been carried out by an approved garage and uploaded to the website of the UKLPG association.
Unfortunately TfL did not do its homework. At the bottom of the ‘Frequently asked questions’ page of the UKLPG website, it states quite categorically that the association does not support the conversion of diesel to LPG and will not accredit such conversions on its website.
Gerald’s diesel to LPG conversion by an approved garage was never going to be endorsed by UKLPG and put up on its website because the association does not and has never done so.
To its utter shame, TfL has refused to admit that it made a mistake and has blamed Mr Silverstein for simply doing what the licensing authority told him to do.
To make matters worse, Mr Silverstein has been told by his oncologist Dr Scrambler at the Chase Farm site of the Royal Free London hospital that his follicular lymphoma cancer has returned. The relapse is possibly attributed down to the stress that Mr Silverstein has been under and he now faces months of radiotherapy and possible chemotherapy.
PHC has reported on several incidents over the years, where the old Public Carriage Office and now Transport for London, have made mistakes, both operational and tactical, but to their credit, have acknowledged their error and done something about it.
The licensing authority can sometimes be a bit like an oil tanker and take a while to change direction but it does normally do the right thing in the end.
Unfortunately this has not been the case with Mr Silverstein. TfL would rather make an ill man unemployed than admit it is wrong and that is unacceptable.