The London Assembly Transport Committee report entitled “Future Proof: Taxi and Private Hire Services in London” was published shortly before Christmas. In it, Transport for London’s performance in regulating the Taxi and Private Hire trades has been described as “woefully inadequate” by London Assembly members.
This criticism comes as the Assembly’s Transport Committee published the findings of a six month investigation into the state of the trades and TfL’s role as regulator.
The report states: “Efforts to modernise taxi and private hire services and meet passenger expectations are being hindered by the lack of a Mayoral strategy for the future of these trades. This makes it difficult for Transport for London (TfL) to regulate the industries efficiently and effectively. Taxi and private hire services form a crucial element of London’s public transport offer, including for some of the most vulnerable passengers, but competition from new technology, and changing passenger demands, are challenging the traditional ways in which these services are delivered. London’s taxi and private hire services will need to evolve to meet these challenges. Failure to address fundamental issues affecting the trades threatens to spark a race to the bottom in terms of standards, putting the travelling public at risk, and threatening London’s reputation as a world leader for these services.”
It continued by saying: “The inherent role of the regulator, TfL, is to protect the interests of the travelling public. We call on the Mayor and TfL to preserve the distinction between the licensed taxi and private hire industries, recognising that diversity of choice is critical to meeting passengers’ differing requirements. We need a clear strategy to ensure the survival and prosperity of both of these services, which covers three critical, inter-related areas of public interest:
safety, availability and accessibility.”