2016-08-04 12:54:01 UTC
Sadiq Khan has committed to a dramatic expansion of the
Transport for London (TfL) team responsible for tackling
touting and illegal activity affecting the Capital's taxi and
private hire trades.
As part of a concerted drive to improve customer safety,
an extra 250 Compliance Officers will be recruited and
deployed over the next year to patrol London's streets
and crack down on illegal activity and improve safety.
The Mayor's move quadruples the size of a team which
provides a highly visible, uniformed presence in the
West End, City and other areas across London.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
'I want Londoners to feel safe when they take a taxi or
minicab and that is why I have approved a major increase
to the size of our team that targets touts and illegal activities.
It is the first part of a wider programme I will be introducing
that will drive up standards in the industry and help our world
famous cabbies continue to thrive.'
Steve Burton, TfL's Director of Enforcement and On-Street
'Illegal minicab activity not only poses a serious risk to
passenger safety but undermines licensed, law abiding taxi
and private hire drivers. This welcome boost to our enforcement
team provides Londoners with additional reassurance and
also sends a message to those not complying with the law
that they will be caught and dealt with robustly.'
Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi
Drivers Association, said:
'This is fantastic news for Londoners and the black cab
trade; it is so refreshing to have a Mayor who recognises
the danger posed to the travelling public by illegal minicab
activity and is prepared to act to ensure their safety. We
welcome this substantial increase in compliance officers,
and look forward to working with Sadiq in the future.'
The new officers will be funded through changes to private
hire operator licensing so that larger firms pay a greater
share of the costs of enforcement.
TfL and its partners regularly carry out operations to deter
and disrupt illegal minicab activity in the Capital and protect
the public from touts. Operation Neon is a joint operation
between TfL, the Metropolitan Police Service and Westminster
City Council that takes place every weekend. An operation
running between May 2015 and July 2016 has seen the
Operation Neon results:
9699 private hire drivers advised and moved on to keep roads
clear for taxis and booked private hire cabs.
448 private hire drivers were reported for not having a badge
and were stopped from working for the remainder of the evening.
5116 private hire drivers were reported for not wearing their
65 private hire drivers reported for plying for hire offences.
1265 private hire drivers reported for parking on taxi ranks.
2916 Parking tickets issued.
Today's announcement is the first part of a comprehensive
strategy overseen by the Mayor that will herald in a new era
for the Capital's taxi and private hire trades. It will deliver
radical improvements for customers, a boost to safety, support
for the taxi trade and further improve the quality of service
offered by the private hire trade. There will also be a concerted
effort to make the Capital's taxi fleet the greenest in the world.
I'm not sure how public safety is increased by giving private hire
drivers parking tickets, and I suspect most people using minicabs
don't care if the driver is not displaying his badge. It will be
interesting to see if the new mayor will have any really
constructive ideas in his "wider programme.