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TfL Proposes New Taxi Licencing

Leaked documents reveal proposed tough new regulations suggested by TfL. It may soon curb all Uber taxi and vehicle hire users in the nation's capital city. Important: This article contains an update about how the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Uber drivers are workers.

Minimum Wait Time Rules for Uber Users?

Many see the latest developments as a potential threat to taxi and rideshare schemes in London, United Kingdom.

The new proposals came as a shock and a disappointment to one London’s most lucrative business startups – the Uber car ordering app.

So, what would happen even when taxis and vehicle hires are readily available?

Simply put, Uber taxi users might be forced to wait five (5) minutes for their ride if the new Transport for London (TfL) regulations go ahead as planned.

Leaked documents hint they may also incur a minimum wait time. Details put forward in the new rules could also impact city wide taxis and private hire vehicles.

If new TfL proposals become law, there may be other restrictive features for cab users in the city to follow. The TfL draft documents indicate that:

  • TfL Licence regulations: Uber Taxi Hire AppExtra rulings may introduce a law banning apps from showing the position of cars immediately for hire nearby.
  • Pre-booking cars up to seven (7) days in advance should be within the regulations.
  • Fare estimates may soon be made a mandatory element.
  • Sharing rides with other passengers, and changing destinations, could become illegal.
  • There may be an additional requirement for cab drivers to pass English language tests.
  • Taxi operators would need to have a fixed telephone landline to accept travel bookings.

Transport for London has become a hot button issue of cab regulation. It has already caused a series of protests by black cab drivers throughout the year.

The regional manager for Uber United Kingdom commented on the issue.

He said:

“These bureaucratic new rules will not improve your ride. The aim addresses the concerns of ‘black cab’ drivers. Hence, the drivers feel under pressure from increased competition.

But, the ideal answer is to reduce the onerous regulations cabbies face today. They should not increase them for everyone else.”

New Role for Transport for London?

Transport for London’s initial consultation attracted thousands of responses during the summer months. It could now pave the way for an increased oversight of the industry by TfL before the end of 2015.

It might include:

  • Administering more demanding tests for private hire drivers.
  • Dealing with, and monitoring, complaints about private hire companies.
  • Encompassing map reading skills.
  • Introducing an increased understanding of transport regulation.

Note: Transport for London (TfL) did not respond to questions or make any comments at the time of the original publication.

Updated Information: September 2017

Transport for London rejected Uber’s application to renew their licence. TfL based the rejection on Uber not being a ‘fit and proper’ private car hire operator. Even so, the latest estimates suggest Uber has 3.5 million users.

As a result, stripping Uber of its London licence came as a surprise move to most. It dealt a serious blow to one of the fastest rising companies from Silicon Valley.

It also sparked an outcry from some government ministers, a coalition of customers, and the drivers at the ride-hailing company.

Uber has a licence to operate until the 30th of September 2017. The company plans to challenge the ruling by London transport authority through the courts.

In short, the ruling means the ride-hailing company can continue to operate in the capital until it exhausts the appeals process.

Updated Information: February 2021

On the 19th of February 2021, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Uber drivers are classified as workers in the United Kingdom.

Despite ending a long-running legal case, the landmark judgment may pose significant implications for the gig-economy and those who work within it.

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Note: The short video explains how the Uber driver app works and how to use specific features in the system.

Transport for London Regulation Proposals Threaten Uber Taxi Users in Britain