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Oct 25

Questions submitted to the Mayor by GLA Member Caroline Pidgeon on behalf of the UCG and the Taxi trade.

The Knowledge

Question No: 2525 / 2011 Caroline Pidgeon

I believe student taxi drivers are currently experiencing delays in their Knowledge training due to a shortfall in examiners. Can you please update me on this? Is TfL looking to hire more
examiners to rectify these delays?

Written response from the Mayor

Transport for London did have a shortfall in examiners which led to some delays for knowledge candidates appearance times earlier in 2011. However, following a successful recruitment campaign,
appearance times will be fully within targets by the end of September once the training for the new Knowledge examiners has been completed.

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Safer Travel at Night

Question No: 2526 / 2011 Caroline Pidgeon

As part of your Safer Travel at Night scheme, I believe TfL has been looking at marshalled private hire pick up points across London. Can you update me on whether this is likely to be introduced and the legal position to enable such an initiative to proceed?

Written response from the Mayor

As part of the Safer Travel at Night initiative TfL has established a number of late night marshalled taxi (black cab) schemes across London.

In addition, TfL has been trialling marshalled late night private hire pick up points in Croydon, Kingston and at The O2. The marshalled private hire pick up point in Croydon was operated on a trial basis in the town centre to provide a safe pick-up point for passengers who had booked a PHV. The scheme in Kingston, meanwhile, uses marshalled minicab booking kiosks and was set up along with a late night marshalled taxi rank to help provide safe travel late at night in the town centre. The scheme at The O2 is operated by The O2 and, along with a late night marshalled taxi rank, operates when there are busy late night events on at The O2.

In determining the suitability of introducing a marshalled private hire pick up point, a number of legal factors need to be taken into consideration and, therefore, each request would be judged on a case by case basis. The requirements for marshalling PHVs are different to marshalling taxis, as all private hire journeys must be booked with a TfL licensed private hire operator. Private hire bookings cannot be accepted on the street and bookings must be made inside the premises licensed by TfL.

There are no plans to introduce additional marshalled private hire pick-up points at this time as TfL does not have funding available for new schemes. However, TfL will continue to advise and assist boroughs in developing their own late night travel schemes in order to help the public get home safely.

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Private Hire Vehicles (1)

Question No: 2527 / 2011 Caroline Pidgeon

I recently witnessed many licensed private hire vehicles in London with blacked out or tinted windows, meaning you can barely make out the licence disc. Given that the TfL website states “all licensed private hire vehicles have the distinctive TfL licence disc in the front and rear windscreen,” will you review the use of blacked out and tinted vehicles in licensed private hire vehicles?

Written response from the Mayor

Transport for London has recently undertaken a public consultation on a number of private hire matters and it is clear that the current vehicle signage arrangements need to be revised as the existing system of the licence disk and the separate stickers for red route enforcement purposes cause confusion.

The outcome of the consultation has just been announced and TfL will now work with the private hire trade and the police to design a new type of consolidated vehicle signage which will be introduced from 2013 or sooner if possible. Any new design will take into account the need for signage to be clearly visible.

Having considered all of the responses to the consultation, there are no plans to change the conditions regarding tinted windows in private hire vehicles.

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Private Hire Vehicles (2)

Question No: 2528 / 2011 Caroline Pidgeon

I believe there are around 23,000 licensed private hire operators and around 45,000 licensed private hire vehicles. Please can you provide figures for how many of these vehicles belong to operators and how many do not?

Written response from the Mayor

All private hire vehicles must be licensed by Transport for London but vehicles can be owned by a licensed private hire operator, licensed private hire driver or by one of the fleet operators who rent licensed vehicles to drivers and / or operators. TfL does not have figures for the number of licensed private hire vehicles owned by operators, drivers or fleets operators but at present there are approximately 3,100 licensed private hire operators, 62,000 licensed private hire drivers and 51,000 licensed private hire vehicles.

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Private Hire Vehicles (3)

Question No: 2529 / 2011 Caroline Pidgeon

Whilst I support your stance on enhanced CRB checks for cab drivers, what are you proposing to the Department for Transport on the issue of CRB checks on drivers from overseas with a vague or absent background history?

Written response to the Mayor

Officers are drafting a response which will be sent shortly.*

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Taxi ranks (1)

Question No: 2530 / 2011 Caroline Pidgeon

Can you explain who is responsible for the maintenance of ‘signs and lines’ and the up keep of Traffic Management Orders to ensure taxi ranks are fit for purpose?

Written response from the Mayor

It is primarily the responsibility of the local borough to maintain ‘signs and lines’ and to ensure the correct Traffic Management Order is in place and appropriately enforced unless the taxi rank or proposed taxi rank is on the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN) where the responsibility remains with TfL.

TfL’s London Taxi & Private Hire directorate has a team dedicated to dealing with taxi rank matters which includes liaison with the relevant highway authority. If you have any specific concerns, please contact John Mason, Director – Taxi & Private Hire, who would be more than happy to discuss this with you.

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Taxi ranks (2)

Question No: 2531 / 2011 Caroline Pidgeon

Does TfL pay for the maintenance to all taxi ranks in London? If not, please list which ranks TfL does pay for?

Written response from the Mayor

Officers are drafting a response which will be sent shortly.*

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Taxi ranks (3)

Question No: 2532 / 2011 Caroline Pidgeon

What processes are in place to ensure all taxi ranks are fit for purpose across London, with the correct Traffic Management Orders, signage and lines?

Written response from the Mayor

When a taxi rank is appointed, TfL liaises with the local borough to encourage maintenance of the rank and to ensure the correct Traffic Management Orders (TMOs) are in place. Historically, there are a number of taxi ranks which do not have a TMO in place and TfL continues to work with the local authorities to improve this situation.

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Pedicab Drivers

Question No: 2533 / 2011 Caroline Pidgeon

I was pleased to see that you lobbied the Home Office to reconsider the proposed weaker Criminal Records Bureau checks on London’s black cab drivers. In light of this, why do you find it appropriate for pedicab drivers to remain unlicensed with no CRB checks?

Written response from the Mayor

I agree that it is anomalous that the regulatory regime for pedicabs is so different to that for other forms of transport where passengers are carried for hire or reward. However, I do not currently have the powers to regulate or licence pedicabs within London. For pedicabs to be licensed, national legislation would be needed.

The joint London Local Authorities and Transport for London No. 2 Bill, which is currently under consideration by Parliament, includes provision for borough-run voluntary registration schemes for pedicabs. In addition, I do have significant concerns about pedicabs and therefore I have recently asked Transport for London to conduct a review of pedicab use in the Capital, which will include consideration of passenger safety. This will be complete by spring 2012.

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Capped fare schemes to airports for London’s taxis

Question No: 2534 / 2011 Caroline Pidgeon

Will you look at the recently announced capped fare scheme from The Cumberland Hotel to the airports in London, with a view to rolling this out across London in order to clamp down on the many tourists who are apparently being ripped off by some unscrupulous hotel door staff?

Written response from the Mayor

I welcome and support any scheme that provides the public with value for money and clarity on the price they will pay for their taxi journey. Any activity by unscrupulous doormen which rips off tourists wanting to arrange transport from the hotel is unacceptable and hotels should be taking the strongest possible action against anyone found doing so.

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On-street inspections of black cabs

Question No: 2536 / 2011 Caroline Pidgeon

Please provide figures for the number of on-street inspections to black cabs which have taken place, per month, since May 2008.

Written response from the Mayor

Officers are drafting a response which will be sent shortly.*

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On-street inspections of private hire vehicles

Question No: 2537 / 2011 Caroline Pidgeon

Please provide figures for the number of on-street inspections private hire vehicles which have taken place, per month, since May 2008.

Written response from the Mayor

Since May 2008, approximately 41,500 private hire vehicle inspections have taken place. The table below provides a breakdown from May 2008 to present.

The recent organisational change within Taxi and Private Hire has led to the establishment of a single Compliance Team, with responsibility for all on street licensing matters covering taxi and private hire vehicles, drivers and operators. As part of this process, a flexible prioritisation process for this single team has also been introduced which ensures all available resources can be focused on key issues and activities as required. These changes have also led to the establishment of a dedicated night time Compliance Team of 7 officers, in direct response to concerns from the taxi and private hire trade regarding issues with touting and private hire operations in late night venues.

As a result of the organisational change itself, the need to train up all staff in this single team to undertake vehicle inspections and a focus on private hire operator compliance activity, there has been a reduction in on-street private hire vehicle inspections during the first 5 periods of 2011.

TfL is monitoring the impact of these changes very closely and will increase the level of on street inspections if felt necessary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Engagement Policy for Associations Representing London Taxi Drivers

Question No: 2538 / 2011 Caroline Pidgeon

The Engagement Policy for Associations Representing London Taxi Drivers states “TfL recognises that there are certain smaller groups of drivers that may have specific issues. In exceptional circumstances TfL will engage with such groups as they feel may be required.” Since the 1st May 2010, please list all occasions where TfL has met with these groups. Please also provide the name of the group.

Written response from the Mayor

I am aware that TfL does indeed engage with many individual and groups of taxi drivers to discuss specific issues. However, this engagement can be in many forms, including telephone discussions, emails or ad-hoc meetings and, as such, no definitive list exists.

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Private hire vehicles in bus lanes

Question No: 2777 / 2011 Murad Qureshi

In answer to MQT 2476/2010 in July last year you advised that TfL were considering whether to allow private hire vehicles in bus lanes and assured me that “A full report and recommendations will be available by the end of the summer”. Admittedly you did not specify which summer, but over a year later I am still waiting for that report. Will it ever be produced?

Written response from the Mayor

The report you refer to is currently in the final stage of being completed and will be available shortly. I have asked TfL to send you a copy as soon as it is ready.

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