Last week I joined UPHD in their demonstration against TfL at Windsor house. Its great to hear private hire drivers raise their voices but it will be an uphill battle to get TfL to see reason and and practice fairness.
We raised three main issues:
- End UberPool – TfL have effectively pre empted the regulatory review which sets out to deal with licensing for such services. They ignored universal advice it received in the first wave of the private hire regulatory review consultation where respondents expressed serious concerns about safety. TfL have said they have sought and received assurances on this from Uber but when pressed they are so far refusing to publish this.
- Cap private hire licensing – even TfL recognises that there are far too many private hire drivers in London which is leading to congestion and unsafe working hours. TfL plays the shill game in saying it is lobbying for primary legislation but the boss is Boris Johnson MP and would be Tory leader. So what exactly are the results of all TfL’s supposed lobbying. Drivers are growing tired of this plausible deniability in a supposed local versus central government spat. Time to sort it out.
- An end to TfL discrimination. Private hire drivers suffer much populist abuse, most of it unfair and unwarranted. However, when such rhetoric starts to be reflected in proposed regulation we have to demand an Equalities Impact Asssessment. Again, TfL says it is doing this but will not tell us what external review has been carried out, when the work will be completed and when the review will be published. That isn’t good enough.
Many will not yet accept TfL have a problem on this last score – especially if you haven’t actually been on the receiving end of discrimination. But here is a small example from the current private hire regulatory proposals. Here TfL is proposing that Operators routinely share driver details with the regulator. Nothing wring with that but there is something desperately wrong with TfL’s justification for the regulation change:
It also means we can better monitor whether drivers connected to a particular operator
are consistently committing offences or other behavioural indiscretions. This will
enhance enforcement and compliance activity.
Let’s be clear, TfL’s job is to set and enforce regulation and to do so fairly and in the public interest. It is far beyond TfL’s role to imagine and deal with non existent ‘behavioural indiscretions’.
The characterisation and language used here by TfL in this just one example is totally unacceptable and must be rejected out right by drivers. TfL must set and enforce the law. That is all.