MPs want mayors to get powers to tackle private hire explosion

 

A group of MPs has backed calls for Sadiq Khan - and other mayors - to get new powers to cap the number of private hire drivers allowed to operate in their city.

In a report published on Wednesday, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Taxis said the number of private hire drivers operating in London ‘brings unique challenges that the current regulatory system is simply unable to cope with', including ‘a large fleet of vehicles illegally plying for hire’.

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It said the Government ‘should consider granting the Mayor/TfL, in London, the power to cap the number of PHVs, and any other Mayors and combined authorities who request it’.

In response, Mr Khan said: ‘I welcome and agree with the report from the All Party Parliamentary Group. The number of private hire drivers has doubled to nearly 120,000 since 2010, causing significant congestion and air quality problems for London, yet as mayor, I simply do not have the power to do anything about this.

‘The Government’s failure to act on the number of minicabs is causing huge problems to London, and Londoners. It’s time the Government gave me the power to cap these numbers.’

In response to a Parliamentary question last week, transport minister John Hayes said there had been no discussions between transport secretary Chris Grayling and Mr Khan on giving the London mayor the power to cap private hire licences, although Mr Khan had recently written Mr Grayling on the issue.

Mr Hayes said: ‘We will respond to him on this and the other matters raised in due course.’

Mr Khan himself came under pressure last week over his decision to renew Uber’s licence, in a motion passed by the London Assembly that also backed giving him plans to cap private hire licences.

Separately, taxi manufacturer the London Taxi Company has relaunched itself as the London EV Company (LEVC) as it revealed the final version of the new petrol hybrid London Taxi – the TX.

The firm said that applied to the TX, the technology allows for a range of over 400 miles, including well over 70 miles range with zero emissions.

In its report, the APPG said the new taxi ‘represents the future of the trade and is vital for London and the UK’.

It added: ‘But Londoners will not see [its] benefits without the Government, the mayor and TfL acting together.’

 

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