Improving safety in Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs)

Closed 25 Jun 2018

Opened 26 Mar 2018

Results updated 3 Mar 2021

Since the consultation closed, in June 2018, there have been several significant developments in taxi and private hire including:  

In late 2017 the DfT commissioned a taxi and private hire Task and Finish Group, chaired by Professor Abdel-Haq.

The membership of the group was:  

  • Helen Chapman - Director of Licensing, Regulation & Charging, TfL
  • Rt Hon Frank Field MP - Member of Parliament for Birkenhead
  • Saskia Garner - Policy Officer, Personal Safety, the Suzy Lamplugh Trust
  • Ellie Greenwood - Senior Adviser (Regulation), Local Government Association
  • Dr Michael Grenfell - Executive Director, Enforcement, Competition and Markets Authority
  • Anne Main MP - Member of Parliament for St Albans
  • Steve McNamara - General Secretary, Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association
  • Mick Rix - National Officer for Transport and Distribution, GMB union
  • Donna Short - Director, National Private Hire and Taxi Association
  • Steve Wright MBE - Chairman, Licensed Private Hire Car Association  

The Group was tasked with considering evidence relating to the adequacy of current taxi and PHV licensing authority powers, as set out in legislation and guidance, making recommendations for actions to address any priority issues identified. Specifically: 

  • Identifying the current priority concerns regarding the regulation of the sector, based on evidence of impact and scale across England  
  • Considering, in particular, the adequacy of measures in the licensing system to address those issues
  • Considering whether it would advise the Government to accept the recommendations made in the Law Commission’s May 2014 report on taxi and PHV legislative reform relevant to the issues
  • Making specific and prioritised recommendations, legislative and non-legislative, for action to address identified and evidenced issues  

In September 2018, following a lengthy evidence gathering process, the Chair of the DfT commissioned Task and Finish Group set out his recommendations on taxi and PHV licensing in the independent report Taxi and private hire vehicle licensing: recommendations for a safer and more robust system. One of their recommendations was that the Government should legislate for national minimum standards for taxi and PHV licensing which, if taken forward, would include some of the areas that had initially been covered in TfL’s consultation.  

In February 2019, the DfT launched its own consultation Taxi and private hire vehicle licensing: protecting users. This consultation sought to address how licensing authorities can use their licensing powers to protect children and vulnerable adults. Following this consultation with trade, regulators and safety campaign groups, in July 2020 the Government issued Statutory taxi and private hire vehicle standards.

Within these new statutory standards, there are several areas of crossover with TfL’s original consultation. For instance, the issue of appropriate signage in vehicles and improving background checks on drivers are both addressed. To ensure that future London specific regulation remains aligned with the national picture, we placed the outcome of our consultation on hold.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has also had an unprecedented impact on the taxi and private hire industry in London and during extraordinary and worrying times, licensees are facing significant personal and economic challenges.  

In light of the above and after carefully considering the responses to our Improving Safety in PHVs consultation, we will be prioritising the implementation of the national Statutory Standards. Concluding our own consultation will enable us to implement a single set of improved standards, that align with the national framework and will mean there is not a sub-set of regional adaptations that drivers will have to adhere to in these challenging times.  

We acknowledge that there are some areas of our consultation, such as the Advanced Driver Test, that will not be progressed at this time as part of this work. However, there are other areas that clearly overlap, such as the proposal to introduce additional signage in licensed vehicles which we will continue to progress.  

Once the new national standards are introduced and are the new norm and the industry is on the road to recovery following the pandemic, we will review any outstanding proposals in our consultation to determine whether they are still required. We are grateful for the contributions from industry on this consultation, the consultation responses remain on record and will be considered in the development of future regulations.

- Update ends -

Results updated 25 May 2018

Integrated Impact Assessment

We commissioned an Independent Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA) to look at the equality, health, environmental and business and economic impacts of the proposals in part one of the consultation which relate to driving standards and vehicle signage.

The report from this assessment is now available here.

We’re interested in your views on the IIA report including whether you agree or disagree with the impacts identified or if you feel that there are other impacts which have not been identified.

You can respond to the consultation and let us know your views on the potential changes and also the IIA report by completing the questionnaire.

If you have already submitted a response to the consultation then you can send us your views on the IIA report separately by emailing If after reading the IIA you would like to amend your response please contact us by emailing

We’re extending the closing date of the consultation and you now have until Monday 25 June 2018  to respond.




We are seeking views on a number of areas including:

  • Driving tests for private hire drivers
  • Signage on PHVs
  • Private hire driver ID on PHVs
  • Insurance requirements for private hire vehicles (PHVs)
  • Background checks for private hire drivers

Transport for London (TfL) licenses and regulates taxi (black cab) and private hire services in London. We license:

  • Taxi (black cab) drivers
  • Taxi vehicles
  • Private hire operators
  • Private hire drivers
  • Private hire vehicles (PHVs)

Taxis and PHVs play an important role in delivering passenger transport services in London and it is essential that standards set by TfL ensure passenger safety and provide appropriate levels of service.

Improving safety and security across the transport network is the key priority for the Mayor’s Transport Strategy and the Mayor has set out a ‘Vision Zero’ approach to safety on London’s streets whilst ensuring the transport system is safe and secure for all passengers.

We are bringing forward a package of proposals for consultation that we consider will strengthen the regulation of private hire services in London.

Our overriding concern in developing these proposals is to improve passenger safety. We are also committed to maintaining a clear distinction between the taxi and private hire trades and further improving the quality, safety, accessibility and overall standard of private hire vehicle provision in London.

We believe that the proposed measures will contribute to this aim and invite comments and views before making any changes.

Additional information about the proposals and existing licensing requirements is available in the supporting document available at the bottom of this page.

We have commissioned an independent Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA). The IIA will cover the equality, health, environmental and business and economic impacts of the proposals. We expect to publish the IIA on this website in early May. If you are interested in the IIA you may wish to submit your response after we have published this.

Driving tests for private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers

The Mayor’s Taxi and Private Hire Action Plan included a proposal to improve “the standards of driving across the [private hire] industry by requiring that private hire drivers pass an advanced driving test before they can be licensed or relicensed.”

As professional drivers are carrying fare paying passengers in an urban environment it is important that London PHV drivers demonstrate a higher standard of driving than that required for a standard driving licence. 

We’re interested in your views on:

•Our proposals to introduce an advanced driving assessment for PHV drivers and the proposed specification for the driving test

•Our proposals to introduce an enhanced wheelchair assessment for all PHV drivers who drive a wheelchair accessible PHV

Additional information about the proposed driving test plus the specification is available in the supporting document available at the bottom of this page.

Signage on private hire vehicles (PHVs)

The Mayor’s Taxi and Private Hire Action Plan included a proposal “requiring details of our customer complaints procedure to be clearly displayed in PHVs….ensuring customers can comment about a journey.”

We are committed to taking a more active role in the investigation of complaints about the behaviour of private hire drivers and have dedicated staff available to process all complaints about all licence types. This is to ensure that we have a better understanding about types and nature of complaints in the private hire industry and also allows us to take appropriate action where necessary.

We have taken this opportunity to review all PHV signage to ensure this remains appropriate. We’re interested in your views on our proposals for PHV signage including:

•New signage in PHVs which will display customer contact information

•Combining this information with some of the existing PHV signage

•Introducing new colour-coded PHV licence discs to make it easier to identify PHVs with expired licence discs

•Whether there should be new signage to increase the visibility of PHVs

•Potential exemptions from any new signage requirements

Additional information about the current PHV signage and details of our proposal is available in the supporting document available at the bottom of this page.

Private hire vehicle (PHV) driver Identification

All licensed PHV drivers are issued with an ID card showing a photo of the licensed driver, the driver’s name, their licence number and the expiry date of their licence. PHV drivers are required to wear their ID card at all times when they are working.

A small number of PHV drivers have been granted an exemption by us from wearing their ID card. Exemptions will be considered if:

•Wearing the ID card presents a specific risk to the driver

•The passenger requests that the driver refrain from wearing their ID card

When a passenger makes a booking the operator must send the passenger a booking confirmation including:

•The PHV registration mark

•The first name of the driver

•The driver's private hire licence number

Where a passenger can receive it, a photo of driver should also be included in the booking confirmation.

We advise passengers to check the driver’s details before getting into a PHV. However, as the current PHV driver ID card is the same size as a credit card it can be difficult for passengers to be able to clearly see the information, especially at night or when the lighting is poor. Furthermore not all passengers will be able to receive a photo of their driver and so won’t be able to check this.

We’re not planning any changes to the driver ID card however, we’re proposing that a version of the PHV driver’s ID card should be displayed on the nearside of the PHV on the front windscreen in the top corner.

We are interested in your views on whether the information contained on PHV driver ID card should be more visible from outside of PHVs and our proposal.

Additional information about our proposal is available in the supporting document available at the bottom of this page.

Insurance requirements for private hire vehicles (PHVs)

It is an application requirement for a vehicle to be licensed as a PHV that ‘there is in force in relation to the use of the vehicle a policy of insurance or such security as complies with the requirements of Part VI of the Road Traffic Act 1988’.

Furthermore, it is a condition of PHV licences that the owner shall not use the vehicle, or permit it to be used, as a PHV unless there is a policy of insurance in place that covers the use of that vehicle to carry passengers for hire or reward.

While a policy of hire or reward insurance must be in place when the vehicle is being used as a PHV, hire or reward insurance is not currently required when the vehicle is being used for other purposes.

We are reviewing the insurance requirements for PHVs to ensure that they remain appropriate and fit for purpose in the interests of public safety.

We’re interested in your views on the following:

•Are any changes needed to the existing PHV hire or reward insurance requirements

•Should PHV drivers be required to produce evidence that the PHV they use is covered by hire or reward insurance, and if they should what format the evidence should be in

Additional information about the current insurance requirements and details of our proposal is available in the supporting document available at the bottom of this page.

Background checks for private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers

The Mayor’s Taxi and Private Hire Action Plan included a proposal to investigate “the feasibility of introducing a minimum three-year enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check for drivers to guarantee that a full and comprehensive period of criminal history is available for consideration as part of the licensing process.”

We are seeking to improve the vetting of private hire driver applicants to ensure a full and comprehensive period of criminal history is available for consideration as part of the licensing process.

TfL needs to have confidence that an applicant’s past criminal behaviour is known if individuals have lived for an extended period outside the UK or come to the UK from another country.

A number of steps could be considered to address this issue including self-declaration of criminal convictions by applicants, references from professionals or those of standing in the country of origin; or a minimum residency in the UK requirement for example.

We are interested in your views on how TfL can best establish background character information for persons who have lived for an extended period outside the UK or come to the UK from another country.

Additional information about the current background checks for private hire driver licence applicants is available in the supporting document available at the bottom of this page.

Have your say

We would like to know what you think about our proposals.

Please give us your views by completing the online survey below by

Alternatively, you can:

•Email us at


You can also request paper copies of all the consultation materials and a response form by emailing, or writing to FREEPOST TFL CONSULTATIONS.



  • All Areas


  • Public
  • Stakeholders
  • London Boroughs


  • TfL consultations