The (Metropolitan) Borough Councils and Transport for London (TfL) do not distinguish between taxi drivers and private hire drivers (PHV) when assessing collision statistics and the potential to cause serious injury.
London is being forced to sustain the massive growth of PHVs- mainly working on the 'on demand' market. The number of collisions caused by PHVs reflect this increase.
Met police records are used by Borough Councils and the Mayor of London’s Cycle Safety Action Group to determine the inclusion /exclusion of taxis the applies to from road development schemes. Currently, Met police rkllm
ecords show no discernible difference between Taxis and PHV.
For example, Camden Council collated data on collision stratistics which were used to inform recommendations limiting taxis and PHV's from the redevelopment of Tottenham Court Road (TCR) and road traffic restrictions recently implemented to Tavistock Place. The TCR / Gower Street location is listed by Camden as one of the worst locations in the borough for collisions, with 259 casualties in the three year period from 1 August 2011 to 31 July 2014. The Met also responded to a public consultation to the effect that permitting taxis to use TCR during daytime hours would increase the collision risk. Both The Met and Camden Council referred to data that did not identify Taxis separately from PHVs.
London's highly trained licensed taxi drivers are suffering the consequences brought about by untrained PHV drivers' operating on the instant hire market. Presently, there are 600 - 700 PH licenses per week being sold by TfL (50,000 in 3 years).
In the interest of public safety, licensed taxi drivers (and those effected), firmly believe that the Met should obtain and record information that identifies taxis as separate from PHVs. This information should also be made available to Borough Councils and interested parties upon request.
The four Uber drivers that were recently convicted for serious offences should not go without reproach. Regardless of how Uber markets its product; with almost no restriction to entry, coupled with an incredibly fallible vetting process, it's unsurprising that it's business model attracts nefarious characters. Even by the law of averages, driver impropriety should be a concern. To be clear, it is unjust that official record books do not distinguish London's licensed taxi trade from an industry with such a discreditable reputation.
Further, how is it comparable for an individual who is extensively vetted over a long period of time, who has invested their time and money developing a skill (a prerequisite of a mandatory licensing requirement), whose service is consistently voted the best in the world and acknowledged by Transport for London as the 'Gold Standard' should be burdened by the consequences of those who have chosen NOT to invest in any such training.