TfL officers have been given the power to stop and inspect any taxi or private hire vehicle, without police presence, for the first time.
The new powers, given to TfL’s taxi and private hire compliance officers by the Metropolitan Police, are designed to improve the safety of taxi and private hire passengers while freeing up police resources.
The idea was first trialled at Heathrow Airport, where TfL officers checked more than 800 vehicles.
TfL officers are now being trained to carry out inspections, which could include checking for valid insurance, inspecting the driver’s licence or photo ID, and inspecting the vehicle for any defects.
The Capital’s private hire industry has experienced ‘rapid growth’ in recent years, with an increase from 59,000 licensed drivers in 2009/10 to around 113,000 today.
TfL says the new powers will enable more enforcement against illegal and non-compliant activity to be carried out.
Steve Burton, TfL’s director of enforcement and on-street operations, said:
“Our compliance officers are at the forefront of combatting unsafe and unlicensed taxi and private hire drivers, who not only pose a serious risk to passenger safety, but undermine licensed, law abiding drivers.
“These new powers will allow officers to stop and check vehicles without the police present, which will significantly increase levels of enforcement so we can robustly deal with dangerous drivers and vehicles.”
Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, said:
“The safety of Londoners is my number-one priority, and with the growth of the private hire industry in London it is essential we give our compliance officers real powers to clamp down on illegal activity, and take action against unsafe and unlicensed vehicles.
“The majority of taxi and private hire drivers provide a good and safe service for Londoners, but drivers who haven’t got a valid licence or are breaching the terms of their licence shouldn’t be on London’s streets.”
24 May 2018