New regulations for taxi and private hire vehicles

4 months ago (10:31 AM)
To join this discussion please register or log in


John Gilburt

These are all reasonable requirements for the PH cars. I also back the new taxi requirments but as most cabbies take their cab hoime they will also need assistance to charge their cabs at home.

I think that these measures are reasonable and restore some much needed balance between the regulation of private hire vehicles and black cabs. The next area for focus should be pedicabs, whose noisy, unsafe practices need to be brought under control.

John Gilburt

I agree, any person takes on the role of transporting another in London should be properly licenced, insured, trained and vehicle inspected.


Pedicabs should be licneced and forced to have 3rd party / passenbger insurance.


There needs to be more enforcement of traffic regulations by the Police, TfL funds, considerably, the Roads and Transport Policing Command and they need to be available 24/7 to act against irresponsible driving by Taxis (as well as non taxi traffic)
I regularly see Taxis (both PH and Black Cab) driving in what I would consider to be an aggressive manner, cutting people up, injudicious pulling out in front of other vehicles forcing them to take evasive action, speeding (try the A40 at 3am), jumping Red Lights, parking where they want to pick up and/or put down leading to roads being blocked etc
Without these you will fail to introduce that "first class" service.


Totally agree, there is no point in having any rules unless they are enforced


I find it hard to see whether these measures are neutral between black cabs, Uber and other private hire firms. They should be. It is not for the State to decide which technology should win in the market. But it is right to ensure for example that all cars face equivalent standards of testing for safety.


Couldn't agree more - though having a safe car is already a legal requirement. Myself and my wife have had a universally good experience of Uber and if anything they all drive too conservatively. This false requirement for 'balance' is simply a desire to prop up the black cab industry at our expense.


Its a good start however the H&R insurance has always been a legal requirement it has just not been enforced. The English language test is really important however basic, there will always be circumstances when you need to engage in conversation with the driver for various reasons. Driver and vehicle details is extremely important, it should stop vehicle swapping between drivers thereby stopping unlicensed drivers. What happened to the advanced driving test for PHV I hope that has not been shelved all drivers should have an exceptional level of driving if they are ferrying the public around.


I booked an Uber a few days ago, he could not speak English he could not understand English, did not know where he was going, I had to direct him away from the traffic.
I am in faro of the Mayors proposals, these drivers must be regulated..Even though I am in favour of Uber, they too have to regulate themselves


if you don't like the cheap and cheerful service don't book - no one forced you to use Uber


That is not we are talking about


Had a similar experience ,but mine had a sat nav ,but couldnt work it because of a lack of english ,this is not right ,now switched to gett ,much better


I am not sure I agree with £65m funding will help drivers to buy cleaner vehicles. Do Uber drivers get funding to by their Toyota Prius vehicles?


I believe they get some discounts . I got to know this from one driver. I'm unsure of the amount, though.


I think there may be a difference here - I think the discount is provided by either Toyota or Uber, whereas the £65m grant comes from London, and therefore rate or tax payers.


PHV are not getting any discount. they have to bear the cost of new car themselves.


As it should be


The only part of this proposal that I can get behind is the desire to push for more disabled access. What I don't understand is why this pot of money should go to Black Cabs? Why should the disabled be forced to use a more expensive sub-standard service? If there is money for this purpose it should be available to any provider in London. I note that Uber (and probably others) already offers disabled rides.


DO NOT AGREE Taxi Drivers should have to supply their details and photograph. this leaves them open to scams and mis-use of information. The passenger can make a note of the car registration, or on the receipt the driver can give name and cab details but NOT PHOTOGRAPH.


TalkJamieson, I seriously doubt that a driver's address will be required on any openly displayed photo I.D.
In New York City taxis, to the best of my recall, the driver's name, possibly D.O.B, and Hack Licence number will appear.
To keep a level playing field, the English language test should apply to black cab drivers too, the only fly in the ointment being that any born and raised in the Old Kent Road driver, be he black, white, yellow, or brown, will have serious misgivings, (to put it mildly), about paying £200 to prove he can speak his native tongue.


This argument will be moot in 5 years with the advent of autonomous vehicles... black cabs, mini cabs, uber driver, private drivers... will all become redundant

What a waste of time and effort... before any regulation is in place, the world will have changed. Far better to plan for the future... a future where black cab drivers aren't aggressive to bikes, where transport is clean and cheap and there is no congestion... bring on the technical revolution

Asylum Road

I know what you are trying to say, but automonous means "having the freedom to govern itself."
I take your point about aggressive black cab drivers, but I ride a bike occasionally, and none of them have been aggressive to me, maybe because I ride close to the kerb, and stop at red lights and pedestrian crossings.
This is NOT to say that other cyclists have not experienced taxi aggression.


Question - I see that owners of old diesel black cabs will receive up to £5,000 for scrapping them, but is that enough of an incentive for them to do so, or are many black cabs likely to be sold privately and allowed to pollute other cities? Does anyone know? It would be nice to think that improving London's air quality wasn't going to be achieved at the expense of damage somewhere else.

Braine Gonzo

My question is why only PVT Hire drivers should take a written English test cost £200 and black cab drivers don't? Is this a TFL and the Mayor of London's plan to satisfy black cabs by pushing out PH drivers out of the streets? There are other ways of improving safety and customer services. Which is to introduce mandatory customers service training for all drivers coming into business not discriminating one group from the other. Just like in the bus and lorry business, nobody should be allowed to drive lorry or a bus without uptodate CPC training. Why can't TFL and the Mayor of London introduce the same without targeting and discriminate one group of people???? This is why Black cad drivers continually bully Pvt Hire drivers on the road because indirectly, they have been given that power to do so. I think TFL really need to reconsider these new changes, to promote equality in the PH & taxi industry...




I understand the purpose behind the English test. Nevertheless that does not support inclusion. Uber has become a source of income for hearing/speaking impaired drivers in other countries and I believe London should be supportive of this idea as well.


The English test makes me uncomfortable tbh. If a driver is unable to communicate well then they will be badly rated and lose custom naturally without the state legislating for language skill. Placing a barrier to someone who may be using their job to fund English lessons seems counter productive. While I understand a case may arise where there is the perfect storm of an incapacitated passenger unable to speak with a driver with no ability to communicate (even though we all have the ability to make ourselves understood if required) it seems unnecessary to legislate for this very rare circumstance and disingenuous to suggest this is why such legislation had been brought in. It feels like anti immigrant legislation brought in to pacify the xenophobic lobby, something which in the current environment I would have preferred see London avoid.

As for insurance, I think the only beneficiary here are the insurance companies. Why not legislate for them to provide more flexible policies?


I applaud UNIFORM safety regulations and UNIFORM language and insurance requirements. BUT THESE PROPOSALS ARE NOT EVEN HANDED AND SEEM DESIGNED TO FAVOUR THE BLACK CAB TRADE OVER UBER AND OTHERS. I have seen NO signs of the black cab trade changing its practices (eg a charge on the meter before the journey starts: larcenous charging rates at night etc) to evidence a willingness to COMPETE with the more cost effective UBER. On the one or two occasions when UBER has disappointed my comments have been immediately addressed. Not so for black cabs who don't even regard a confirmed booking as a contract.......Many times I have received a call 10 minutes before a confirmed booking to say "sorry we can't get you a cab" - which is unacceptable. And why can't UBER drivers get financial assistance to buy low emission vehicles???

Asylum Road

You object to a charge on the meter before the journey starts, that charge, (the flag fall), is incorporated into the fare structure.
In London it is now £2.60, this is for the first 201 metres, or 43 seconds, whichever come first, after that the meter clocks up 20p for each additional 100 metres, or 21 seconds.
In New York City, flag fall is $2.50, in Paris €2.40, in Berlin €3.90, in Madrid €3.00.
It is a universal thing, no taxi driver is going to drive you a couple of hundred metres, and then engage the meter.

David Hulbert

There's an element here of pandering to and protecting an entrenched cartel that is, sadly for its members, becoming uneconomic. As a global, modern city, London should be a world leader in encouraging flexible, better service, lower cost systems and services across the board.


Improving road safety is important. Having the correct insurance is important. Requiring licensed taxi drivers to have a better command of English than is expected in the entire rest of the service industry is not, in fact it is discriminatory. Requiring licensed taxi drivers to have a better command of English than naturalisation rules would in affect create a strange scenario where you are able to become British but not a taxi driver. Slipping this requirement into a list of reasonable improvements is disingenuous. Unlike the other improvements designed to make the roads safer this 'improvement' is only designed to stifle competition. The example provided by the mayor that without this 'improvement' you wouldn't be able to ask the driver in a sudden mid-trip emergency to take you to hospital is to ignore the reality that there is more to communication than words and that a higher-than-naturalisation language requirement is not required for someone to understand the word, 'hospital'. I would also ask why this isn't deemed a risk in the face of other service industries.


I belive london will be never same again against standard and safety of taxi and private hire service,
its a another waste of tax payers money, in same way as cycle lane!
god safe the taxi and private hire industry!


I am in favour of these changes. When I take any taxi (Black Cab or PH) I would expect to be covered by appropriate insurance and be able to converse in English to the driver. I am in favour of PH competition to black cabs but I do not believe that PH cabs should be able to undercut Black Cab prices simply because they operate to a lower standard.


Language test is a good way to tell uber driver get of the road safely,
this industry doesnt need speaking when your driving with equipt latest technology.
some riders can't even speak english as drivers, and also based on my 24 years in taxi maybe 75% passengers wishes not to talk with driver.
remember talking with driver while moving can be dangers for the road.


You obviously wouldnt pass the written test ,black cab drivers been having conversations for over 300 years ,dont know of one accident caused by talking to the passenger


its unnesscery for private hire drivers need writen english. they dont need to write any thing any way. advance driving test is doesnt make sence . you have to do for evaryone not only for taxi drivers.who driving car in london. private hire driver is also same like a car driver . you want make hard life for private hire drivers thats all. . my thinking private hire driver have to speak english .thats all. if u want to change something u can do for private hire drivers english speaking course thats fine. but not written course thats unfair. if u bring all this new rules . am sure more then half drivers loose the licence. they will b unemloyed. going to depend on govrnment for benfits. think again about this . every one cant afford fee for these courses. thats really unfair and discrimination for uber drivers.

Asylum Road

I think I may see why you are opposed to a written test.


Discrimination to expect a cab driver to be able to speak english ,pc gone mad ,of course they must be able to read andcwrite english ,we are IN ENGLAND ,pc gone mad


I honestly believe this is all about making private hire more expensive. If ppl aren't happy with Uber or similar don't use them! I use Uber regularly and have never seen one without a satnav, so speaking fluent English and knowing the roads isn't necessary.
Let people have the option for honest work for goodness sake!


As a professional chauffeur, I MUST keep my standards very high else ....... As a result, I do not have any issues with the English language test nor the advance driving assessment in principle.

However, I do not agree with the new H&R insurance policy and I'm glad the mayor has asked for a review because that would simply be too burdensome to some of us.

Having said that, I have 2 questions on both assessments:
1. Regarding the language assessment, what will be the case of someone born in a predominantly English speaking (commonwealth) country and is educated to degree level? Or are people like that not expected in this industry?

2. Regarding the advance driving assessment, what of someone certified by RoSPA which comes with a requirement for regular retests at specified intervals?

Now however laudable these introductions are, unless distinctions are made, then it would appear that money is also a motivating factor here. I'll be happy for you to disabuse me on my views on these issues.
Mr Mayor, whilst looking at this, can I take this opportunity to implore you to make it easy for us to pick up and also drop off in the city. I'm just fed up with having to pay £65 for just using a road space for no more than a minute and I work nights. Thank you


By the very fact you have a "Taxi and Private Hire Action Plan" you are not creating a free and fair market. A language exam is absolutely absurd and completely degrading to all those drivers who are committed to getting people to and from their destinations safely. Technology has led us to a position where you don't need to speak the same language to communicate. For all those who have had issues with their driver not speaking English and not being able to direct them - maybe you should use the app correctly and put in the right address - the sat nav does the rest.
If you are pinning this Taxi and Private Hire Action Plan on safety then please can you disclose how many incidents have happened in Uber and Tracked taxi services vs. those that aren't. Many people feel 100% safer in a tracked car than they do a black cab.
In addition, isn't this entire thing a complete waste of tax payers money as soon enough we won't even be having this debate as driverless cars will be driving all us tech savvy people everywhere...Will you still be trying to protect outdated and overpaid black taxi drivers then?!?!?!


Sorry thats nonsense ,anybody doing any job here must have command of our language ,never heard such nonsense


fee for english test is just a way to make money,
for uber driver it will be hard as 90% of driver are in rental agrement after petrol and cost of family expence it leaves balance £0.
if any passenger or rider wants good speaking driver their is uber EXEC or uber LUX pay for the service.
we are proud UK have all type of service standards on the table.
Am having a feeling by 2020 red carpet will be inforce for uberx drivers.

Talk London

Thanks all for your comments so far. There’s some debate here about the need for and fairness of the new English language test requirement for private hire drivers. As set out in the Mayor’s email to many private hire drivers and customers today, the English language requirement aims to improve passenger safety and communication with drivers, for example in circumstances where passengers need to communicate about a medical issue or communicate a certain route to the driver. 80% of respondents to our taxi and private hire regulations consultation were in favour of an English language test, and the plan is for it to be of a similar level to that achieved in the early years of secondary school.

Please do keep on sharing your views with us.


In response to this it should be pointed out that in using Uber on average of 11 times a week, I have never, not once ever, had an issue with pointing out a route. Particularly as the best choice of route is increasingly traffic related not local knowledge related; and so I, like most of the drivers, rely on the app, Waze, to determine this. Waze directions are easy to communicate, because its a sat nav.


I have few concerns. First of all advance driving test. How much it's going to cost and who is paying that burden. And are blackcab drivers also have to pass that or its only for PHV. Because knowledge has nothing to do with driving skills. If only mini cab drivers are required to go thought the test than here you go this regulation is completely bias.
Secondly would it be possible to get licence for diesel PHV after 2018 because majority of 7 seaters are diesel. If not then who going to help them to buy new cars. Why only taxi are getting tax payers money. Bias again.

Talk London

Hi Shazoonaz,

In terms of funding available to private hire vehicle drivers, the Environment team at City Hall tell us that the government provide grants worth 35% of the cost of an ultra low emission car, up to a maximum of either £2,500 or £4,500 depending on the model ( More information on the cost and benefits of switching to an ultra low emission car can be found at

The Mayor has also given the go-ahead for TfL to start work on the costs and challenges of implementing a diesel scrappage scheme as part of a wider national scheme delivered by the Government. This is intended to help reduce the financial compliance costs for owners of cars and vans as a result of the Ultra Low Emission Zone and similar schemes elsewhere in the country, which are necessary to tackle pollution.

Hope that's helpful.


This scheme is for general public not designed for PHV and the car available in this scheme are not suitable for the PHV industry. there should b funding to PHV drivers too and TFL should make sure that there should more affordable choices for the industry. more electric cars need to come in market.


Showing 1-50 of 78 comments