As predicted by Taxi Leaks last year, TfL will now commence issuing replacement licences and area identifiers to all licensed London taxi drivers. The new licences and area identifiers will be of a similar design to existing ones
but will contain a number of new security features.
Following feedback from the trade, the new suburban area identifiers will have a larger space to show the areas for which a driver is licensed to ply for hire. One of the key reasons for replacing all taxi driver licences (Bill) and area identifiers is to combat fraudulent licences.
Drivers Bills should have been replaced two years ago when LTPH first discovered that a large number of documents had fallen into the wrong hands and were being sold openly in some London garages and pubs. Instead, LTPH decided to concentrated huge resources in the inspection of Badge and Bills by compliance teams, all over London. Sometimes its the simple common sense solutions that are the best.
Between March and December 2012 some 27 arrests have been made by the police for the use of fraudulent documentation. Of these, a number were completely unlicensed drivers that had received no character and medical checks or undertaken the Knowledge of London. These drivers are putting the public at risk and also damaging the earnings and reputation of legitimate taxi drivers. Still not one word about the fraudulent roundels sold by employees of SGS to PHV drivers for cash. Also no word about re-presentation of vehicles, dealt with by the staff arrested by the police, for re-inspected. At present it is not known how many unsafe, dangerous PHVs are affected.
Accompanying the new documents will be instructions advising how to return existing documents to TfL. You will not be trusted to keep or destroy the old licenses/identifiers.
Any driver who has not received his or her replacement licence and area identifiers by 31 March 2013 should contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or 0845 602 7000.
Please check the new documents carefully as it has been reported that a number of new license have already been sent to drivers containing the wrong photo. Source LTDF.
In order to facilitate this change, a number of drivers were recently asked to submit passport size photographs, which will allow a digital version to be reproduced on their licence. Any driver who has not yet responded to this request is urged to do so without further delay.
Until a new photograph is provided we will be unable to issue the replacement licence and identifiers. Any driver not displaying new style identifiers will be liable to compliance action, therefore it is imperative that drivers provide a photograph as requested.
Photographs can be emailed to TPHphotos@tfl.gov.uk or posted to:
Taxi Driver Photographs 4th Floor, Green Zone Palestra
197 Blackfriars Road London SE1 8NJ
After 31 March 2013
Through the issue of the new licences and area identifiers which contain additional security features, along with continuing to undertake regular compliance checks, we will be able to safeguard the public from rogue drivers and protect the reputation and the earnings of the taxi trade.
It was hoped that now a solution has been found to the fraudulent use of Taxi driver documentation, LTPH would be able to concentrate on the bigger problem of PH touting and illegally plying for hire and protect the public from violence, robbery and sexual predators, but that still looks very unlikely.