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Why the private hire industry is protesting

Today will see members of multiple private hire organisations join forces in London in a protest against TfL. They will descend on City Hall to voice concerns regarding the performance of their regulator.
At 9 am trade representatives will be handing copies of a letter to the Greater London Assembly’s Transport Committee in which they outline the key issues they are in conflict over.
The protest is the brain child of GMB Driver’s Branch Secretary Steve Garelick. He will be joined by The Chauffeur & Executive committee, The Driver Guides Association, The Private Hire Board, National Private Hire Association and Steve Wright, the head of the Licenced Private Hire Car Association, and former private hire industry advisor to Boris Johnson.
In the last month the GMB successfully backed drivers in an employment tribunal against Uber
Wright has maintained for a number of months that the LPHCA is on a “war footing” with their regulator in London. He has called for drivers concerned regarding their future careers and and private hire operators fearing for their businesses to join the protest.
There has long been discontent in the taxi industry with TfL’s performance. Black cab drivers have held several protests over the last two years and in September 2015 several drivers were ejected from a GLA meeting for disrupting proceedings.
Cabbies and private hire drivers are often battling one another as they compete for passengers. However both have been in agreement at what they perceive to be a “light touch” approach to the regulation of Uber.
Private hire drivers have also been forced to accept a number of regulatory measures over the last couple of years including: continuous insurance for licenced vehicles and tougher topographical testing.
However the recent publication of stringent English language tests for private hire drivers has proven to be the final straw and the examination requirements have prompted today’s demonstration.
Protestors are accusing TfL’s taxi private hire division of having lost control and being unable of producing fit for purpose regulations.

What is the private hire industry calling for?

  • Immediate suspension of English language tests
  • A comprehensive investigation into TfL TPH by the GLA

The GMB originally had plans for a vehicle blockade on the roads, but instead joined the LPHCA initiative of a protest outside City Hall.
The demonstration is due to last from 11 am to 1 pm.  Literature outlining the industries issues will be distributed and it is hoped that national and local media will help publicise the event.
Read more: Safety in numbers – Winter Driving Essentials
Read more: What the Uber tribunal really means for the Taxi Industry