Private Hire Regulations Review: Response to Consultation and further Proposals

Closed 23 Dec 2015

Opened 30 Sep 2015

Results Updated 18 Mar 2016

In September 2015, we invited your comments on our proposals for changes to private hire regulations and in January this year we published an Integrated Impact Assessment of these proposals and invited further comments. We received over 16,000 responses, which have now been analysed. Responses (apart from stakeholders) were analysed by Steer Davis Gleave (SDG), an independent consultancy that we commissioned to do this work.

Please click here to view the full report (PDF)

Please click here to view the analysis report (PDF)

For information, the original consultation proposals are here (PDF)

Please click here to view the report on the Integrated Impact Assessment

We made recommendations to the TfL Board for changes to the regulations, informed by the results of these consultation. The Board considered the recommendations on 17 March and approved changes to the regulations. Details are available on this press release.

The full list of proposals approved by the Board is as follows:

  • Operators must have the facility to provide a booking confirmation to passengers containing the photo ID and details of the vehicle being used to discharge the booking where passengers are able to receive that information
  • Operators will be required to provide specified information to TfL at specified intervals including details of all drivers and vehicles registered with them
  • Operators must record the main destination for each booking before the journey commences
  • Operators to retain all records for a period of 12 months
  • TfL to control the names under which operators offer private hire services to the public
  • Private hire drivers to be required to demonstrate a certain standard of English
  • Individual licence applicants to provide National Insurance numbers to TfL
  • A driver's private hire vehicle licence to be considered for revocation if their private hire driver's licence is revoked
  • TfL will liaise with the Home Office on introducing DBS checks on private hire operator staff that have face to face contact with the public
  • TfL to stop accepting payment for licence fees by postal order and cheque
  • Drivers to carry or display a copy of insurance details at all times
  • Introduce new operator licence fee structure to better reflect operator licensing costs based on operator size. The specific revisions to the licence fee structure will be consulted on separately
  • Amendment of regulations to give TfL the power to control advertising displayed inside, from, or on the outside of a private hire vehicle
  • Operators will be required to notify TfL before changing their operating model
  • Operators must ensure that customers can speak to a real person in the event of a problem with their journey
  • Private hire operators must provide an estimated fare prior to the commencement of the journey
  • Hire and reward insurance will be required at the point of vehicle licensing, and for it to remain in place for the duration of the licence
  • Working with the Department for Transport to develop guidance on ridesharing
     

A decision has been deferred on proposal six, which stated that TfL will no longer issue licence variations to private hire operator licenses to add a late-night or temporary event operating centres. More work will be undertaken on this point.

We will now work closely with the private hire industry to ensure that the revised regulations are implemented in a timely and appropriate manner.

Overview

Update - 18 March 2016

In September 2015, we invited your comments on our proposals for changes to private hire regulations and in January this year we published an Integrated Impact Assessment of these proposals and invited further comments. We received over 16,000 responses, which have now been analysed. Responses (apart from stakeholders) were analysed by Steer Davis Gleave (SDG), an independent consultancy that we commissioned to do this work.

Please click here to view the full report (PDF)

Please click here to view the analysis report (PDF)

For information, the original consultation proposals are here (PDF)

Please click here to view the report on the Integrated Impact Assessment

We made recommendations to the TfL Board for changes to the regulations, informed by the results of these consultation. The Board considered the recommendations on 17 March and approved changes to the regulations. Details are available on this press release.

The full list of proposals approved by the Board is as follows:

  • Operators must have the facility to provide a booking confirmation to passengers containing the photo ID and details of the vehicle being used to discharge the booking where passengers are able to receive that information
  • Operators will be required to provide specified information to TfL at specified intervals including details of all drivers and vehicles registered with them
  • Operators must record the main destination for each booking before the journey commences
  • Operators to retain all records for a period of 12 months
  • TfL to control the names under which operators offer private hire services to the public
  • Private hire drivers to be required to demonstrate a certain standard of English
  • Individual licence applicants to provide National Insurance numbers to TfL
  • A driver's private hire vehicle licence to be considered for revocation if their private hire driver's licence is revoked
  • TfL will liaise with the Home Office on introducing DBS checks on private hire operator staff that have face to face contact with the public
  • TfL to stop accepting payment for licence fees by postal order and cheque
  • Drivers to carry or display a copy of insurance details at all times
  • Introduce new operator licence fee structure to better reflect operator licensing costs based on operator size. The specific revisions to the licence fee structure will be consulted on separately
  • Amendment of regulations to give TfL the power to control advertising displayed inside, from, or on the outside of a private hire vehicle
  • Operators will be required to notify TfL before changing their operating model
  • Operators must ensure that customers can speak to a real person in the event of a problem with their journey
  • Private hire operators must provide an estimated fare prior to the commencement of the journey
  • Hire and reward insurance will be required at the point of vehicle licensing, and for it to remain in place for the duration of the licence
  • Working with the Department for Transport to develop guidance on ridesharing
     

A decision has been deferred on proposal six, which stated that TfL will no longer issue licence variations to private hire operator licenses to add a late-night or temporary event operating centres. More work will be undertaken on this point.

We will now work closely with the private hire industry to ensure that the revised regulations are implemented in a timely and appropriate manner.

The details of the consultation can be found below.

End of update

Summary

Transport for London (TfL) has carried out a wide-ranging review of private hire vehicle regulations and this is the second and final consultation in respect of this review.

The first consultation took place between March and June 2015 and almost 4,000 responses were received and analysed. TfL has subsequently developed a more detailed set of proposals for this consultation before deciding whether or not to implement any regulatory changes.

Click here to to view the detailed proposals (PDF)

Introduction

Transport for London (TfL) is a statutory body established by the Greater London Authority Act 1999 and is the licensing authority for London’s taxi and private hire industries. It is the largest licensing authority in the country, being responsible for licensing approximately one third of all taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs) in England.

Private hire operators, drivers and vehicles licensed by TfL provide a range of vital services as part of London’s transport system which include minicab, chauffer/ executive and specialist accessible vehicle services.

Because of a number of developments within the private hire industry including advancements in new technology and an increase in the different ways people engage and share taxi and private hire services, we are undertaking a review of the current policies and processes that govern the licensing of private hire drivers, vehicles and operators.

We launched a consultation in March 2015 which reviewed the regulations and requirements that are currently in place for private hire services and invited comments, suggestions and information and an indication whether it was felt  these should be revised, if at all.

The consultation sought the view of those involved in the private hire trade, users of private hire services and any other interested parties.

Nearly 4,000 consultation responses were received. A report setting out these responses, including those received from the main private hire and taxi trade representatives as well as from large private hire operators and passenger groups, is available here.

We have carefully considered the responses to this consultation and in this second consultation we set out a number of proposed changes in more detail. Certain of these proposals were not included in the March 2015 consultation but which we think are appropriate to take forward.

We now invite comments on the proposed changes.  Where possible, consultees are asked to provide evidence or examples in support of their comments and suggestions.

Full details of how to respond to the consultation are provided below.

The following abbreviations are used when referencing the private hire regulations (“the PHV regulations”):

  • Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 – “the 1998 Act”
  • Private Hire Vehicles (London) (Operators’ Licences) Regulations 2000 – “Operators Regulations”
  • Private Hire Vehicles (London PHV Driver’s Licences) Regulations 2003 -     “Drivers Regulations”
  • Private Hire Vehicles (London PHV Licences) Regulations 2004 – “Vehicles Regulations”
     

Background

The Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 provided for the introduction of licensing of private hire operators, drivers and vehicles in London. The Private Hire Vehicles (London) (Operators’ Licences) Regulations 2000 were introduced and licensing of operators commenced in 2001.

Under the 1998 Act as originally enacted, the responsibility for private hire licensing fell to the Public Carriage Office (PCO), the section of the Metropolitan Police responsible for regulation and licensing of London’s taxis. Upon the establishment of the Greater London Authority and Transport for London (TfL) as the Mayor’s integrated transport authority in 2000, the PCO transferred into TfL, subsequently becoming part of TfL’s Surface Transport Directorate as London Taxi and Private Hire.

Since the introduction of operator licensing, it has been illegal to accept a private hire booking without an operator’s licence. Operators must have one or more licensed operating centres and bookings can only be accepted at these centres. Records of bookings, complaints and lost property must be held at the operating centre(s) together with details of drivers and vehicles used to fulfil bookings, including copies of documents to prove that the driver and vehicle are licensed for private hire work and covered by the appropriate insurance etc. All these records must be available for inspection by TfL staff.

There are two types of operator’s licence and both are normally granted for five years:

  • ‘Small’ – the operator has no more than two vehicles at any time; and
  • ‘Standard’ – the operator has more than two vehicles 
     

There are approximately 1,000 small and 2,000 standard operators currently licensed in London. Many of the small operators are one-person chauffeur businesses in which the same person is licensed as an operator, driver and vehicle owner. However, some are booking agents that sub-contract the service provision to other licensed operators.

The vast majority of operators have one operating centre however there are around 330 with multiple centres.
 

Purpose of the consultation

The purpose of this consultation was to review various aspects of the existing regulations covering private hire services, and to invite comments on proposals for change.

We identified a number of issues that could be addressed by further amendment to the regulations to ensure that they remain appropriate and fit for purpose. This document sets out these issues and invites comments on proposals to address them.

Consultees were invited to comment on any aspect of the proposals or make other suggestions and, in particular, are invited to provide any evidence relevant to issues or proposals that are discussed.

Changes to private hire policy and legislation

After careful consideration of the responses to our initial consultation, we said we would bring forward a package of proposals for further 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 measures

We are also taking forward a number of additional measures which are included in Part 5 of the proposals.

Areas

  • All Areas

Audiences

  • Public
  • Stakeholders
  • Local residents
  • Local businesses
  • Schools
  • London Boroughs
  • Coach Operators
  • Taxi trade
  • Transport for London
  • Taxi customers and other stakeholders

Interests

  • Taxis
  • Private hire