Daniel Zeichner, Labour MP for Cambridge calls for the government to take proper responsibility over taxi licensing laws, after the news broke that Transport for London has refused to relicense Uber in London after their current license expires next week.
However, Daniel warns that just because Uber will no longer be licensed in London, it doesn't mean that they will be unable to continue working there. Due to complicated and outdated laws, Local Authorities can only enforce against drivers that they license. If Uber drivers were to obtain licenses from near-by authorities and decided to carry on working in London, it would be hard for TFL to stop them. Many taxi and private hire unions and taxis are currently lobbying against this practice, known as 'cross-border working.'
Daniel, who is a member of the Transport Select Committee says, "the government has known for a long time that it needs to sort out taxi and private hire licensing, but has just dug its heels in and refused to act or make these tough decisions.
It's time for them to act, to protect authorities like TfL who are responsible for the safety of those using transport, but who don't have the power to actually kick out bad working practices. At the moment, they are risking TfL being exposed to 30,000 or 40,000 drivers licensed elsewhere but working in London.
I hope that my Private Members' Bill, entitled the Licensing of Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Safeguarding and Road Safety) Bill, will go some way to improving the industry's safety standards, but it's clear that the government really needs to act and provide a joined-up, coherent re-vamp of the rules. Some of the current laws date back to the Victorian times! I hope the government will support my Bill in February, but i also hope that this kind of brave move by TfL will push them into taking some sensible action.
To sign up to Daniel's monthly e-newsletter. Sign up here.