Following comments made to Peter Rose of Unite, by TfL Compliance Officers at Smith’s in Charterhouse Street (29/11/13), given in response to a question regarding the illegal parking habits of private hire, clarification was sort from TfLs Legsl Team. Here is their reply.
"When licensing an operating centre to accept private hire bookings, whether it is a ‘normal minicab office’ or an operating centre in a late night venue (what you refer to as a ‘satellite centre’), we expect any private hire vehicle that is serving that operating centre to comply with local parking restrictions and we do not condone illegal parking. However, if the vehicles and drivers are legally parked in the vicinity of an operating centre run by the operator they work for, we will take the view that they are legitimately at the location waiting for bookings from that operator.
Where this is not the case and we or the police find drivers acting unlawfully we will take appropriate action. For example, where un-booked private hire vehicles and drivers are found making themselves available for immediate hire we will take action on the grounds that the driver is illegally plying for hire. This may result in prosecution and/or revocation of the private hire vehicle driver’s licence. We have no power to enforce parking restrictions which remains the responsibility of the local authority”.
This statement completely defies the Hackney Carriage Act, the London Cab Act and the Private Hire Act.
It also show flagrant disregard to decades of case law.
It goes against the principle of the STaN report which originated licence variation operations (Satellite offices).
The situation of Private Hire Cars (minicabs) forming ranks, waiting to become hired, is not allowed anywhere else in the country.
We believe this is proof that TfL are looking to make Private Hire ranks commonplace in Central London and coming to a street near you, in the very near future.
What mystifies most of the trade is:
Why have trade representative bodies (the ones who engage with TfL) said and done nothing about this situation or, indeed this statement?
Has the trade's silnce been bought, for less than the price of a new taxi"?
We of course offer space on this blog to any trade leader who would like to justify their non-action.