EDM 142 - PASSENGER SAFETY AND PRIVATE HIRE INDUSTRY REGULATION

I have signed EDM 142 on passenger safety and private hire industry regulation. 

That this House is concerned that smartphone apps such as Über are circumventing the law governing the taxi and minicab industry; supports the existing regulations whereby private hire vehicles (PHVs) may only pick up passengers when pre-booked rather than from a rank or in response to being hailed; recognises that such regulations provide passengers with important safety protections against unregulated drivers who have not undergone extensive criminal record and medical checks or had to pass a formal taxi driving assessment like licensed taxi drivers; welcomes Transport for London's (TfL) public opposition to any move to confuse the distinction between the two services; notes with concern, that in spite of this, TfL is failing to carry out its licensing and enforcement functions and is allowing PHVs to operate within the immediate hire market; believes that this is primarily due to the absence of a statutory definition of plying for hire; further believes that this will undermine public confidence in a safe and secure licensing regime and will ultimately undermine the viability of the current taxi service; further notes that the number of people applying to study The Knowledge, the geographical training for licensed taxi drivers, fell from 3,326 in 2012 when Über started operating in London, to 2,159 last year; and calls on the Government to bring forward urgent legislation which provides a clear statutory definition to protect the distinction between taxis and PHVs.

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