Saturday, 2 September 2017



A Licensed London Taxi Driver rang 'TfLTPH Directorate' twice, to find out if accepting an App job, outside of his licensed area, was legal.

The conversations which transpired between the driver and TfL staff are jaw-droppingly outrageous.
The first TfLTPH assistant showed the geographical ignorance of an Infant School pupil.
The second TfLTPH staff member showed such profound regulatory ignorance, the driver would have been better off ringing up his local pizza parlour for information.

I blame Transport for London.
TfLTPH are placing untrained, uninformed staff members to man phones, which are supposed to inform Taxi and Private Hire drivers.
Now you know why TfLTPH never replies to our questions. Because they do not know the answers!

Mayor Khan, what the heck are you going to do about this unacceptable situation at TfL's Misinformation Bureau?

Below are the transcripts from both conversations.
I warn you; you will not know whether to laugh or cry.


TfL: Taxi & Private Hire. 1TfL speaking. How can I help you?
TD: Good afternoon 1TfL. I’m wondering if you can help me.
TfL: Yep, how can I help you?
TD: I’m a London Taxi driver and I’m looking for some information. I’ve asked TfL’s Helen Chapman the General Manager, via email three times, but she hasn’t replied to my emails. She must be very busy.
TfL: I don’t think you’ll get a response from Helen Chapman. What was the query in relation to, sir? What was the query in relation to?
TD: I’m outside of London Stansted Airport, in Essex.
TfL: OK.
TD: And I’ve been given an App job, by one of the taxi apps. Can I accept that booking? I’m outside London, I live near Stansted.
TfL: Are you a Private Hire Driver?
TD: No, I just said I’m a Taxi Driver.
TfL: Ah, alright. So you’re a Black Cab driver and you’ve got a booking through an app?
TD: It’s just come through to me. Can I accept that job on the App?
TfL: Alright.
TD: Can I accept the job?
TfL: It came through to you. You’ve got to collect the customer, yeah?
TD: Yeah, I’m in Stansted now, I leave near Stansted Airport.
TfL: Okay, let me just double check for you. Give me one moment please.
TfL: Hello there. Um yeah, I’ve just spoken to my Team Leader. That should be fine, as long as you’re on an App, you’ll be fine. And should be able to pick the passenger up.
TD: As long as I’m a what, sorry?
TfL: As long as you’ve got confirmation, the booking should be fine.
TD: So, I can work anywhere in the country on an app?
TfL: No, no sir. It’s not like that Sir. It’s obviously is in London.
TD: Stansted Airport is thirty five miles outside of London.
TfL: It’s alright, if your booking is from London, you can collect that person and bring them back to London.
TD: What do you mean, if the booking is from London?
TfL: A booking has to be taken from London. Where’s the booking taken from? Is it from London?
TD: I don’t know. You asked me. I’ll ask you the question; where is the booking taken?
TfL: Well, the company you’re with, where are they located? Where are they based? Are they based in London?
TD: They don’t have an Operator’s Licence, to accept a booking, sir.
TfL: Alright, hold the line a second for me, please.
TD: It’s MyTaxi.
TfL: Okay.
TD: They don’t have an Operator’s Licence. They are not a Private Hire Operator. They are an App intermediary, an App company.
TfL: Okay.
TD: I’m sitting at Stansted Airport. I’m sitting outside Stansted Airport now.
TfL: Okay.
TD: And it keeps offering me an App job booking. ‘Phyllis’ came up. She wanted a Taxi back to Southampton. I want to know if I can accept that booking, legally.
TfL: Let me have a look.
TfL: Hello Sir, yeah, I’ve just spoken to my colleague and yeah, because Stansted is part of Greater London, you can actually take that booking.
TD: Because Stansted is part of Greater London I can accept that booking?
TfL: Yeah, you can.
TD: Okay, have they moved Stansted into Greater London?
TfL: I’m no too sure.
TD: Because Stansted is in Essex.
TfL: It’s okay. It is part of Greater London, sir. So it should be fine.
TD: It’s part of Greater London?
TfL: Yeah.
TD: Okay. Well thanks for that.
TfL: No worries.
TD: What if I was in Manchester, could I accept a booking there?
TfL: Umm, not from Manchester, no. It has to be from London or near London.
TD: Near London?
TfL: Yeah, it has to be within London or Greater London.
TD: Right, Greater London? Stansted isn’t Greater London though.
TfL: Okay, but it is part of London, it should be fine.
TD: Stansted is in Essex.
TfL: Sir, the name of it. It’s called London Stansted Airport.
TD: Right, okay. So I can take a booking from London Stansted Airport, as long as it’s got in ‘London’ in the name, I can take it?
TfL: Yeah.
TD: Okay. Does that mean I can take a booking from London Street, in Manchester?
TfL: No, it’s not what I’m saying. But obviously I’ve spoken to my colleague and …
TD: So, what your saying is that London Stansted is in Greater London?
TfL: What I advise you to do, sir - obviously in regards to Stansted you can, that should be fine - but in regards to any other queries you have, I would advise you to put that in writing.
TD: Okay.
TfL: I can give you an email address; where you can email us, and we can get someone get back to you, in relation to that.
TD: I have done; Helen Chapman.
TfL: Helen Chapman won’t get back to you, sir. I’ll have to give you a general email, and they’ll get back to you.
TD: I have done to Neil Hassett, as well.
TfL: Okay, let me give you a general email address. Okay let me give you an email address, and put it in writing to us, and they will definitely get back to you yea?!
TD: Okay yeah, fantastic. What’s the email, sir?
TD: Okay, fantastic. I’ll send an email again. I’ll send you the same ones as I have been sending to Helen Chapman. Hopefully I’ll get an answer. Thank you for confirming London Stansted is in Greater London.
TfL: Yeah, Okay.
TD: Thanks for confirming that.
TfL: No worries. Good day, then.
Taxi Driver: Bye, bye. Bye



TfL: Good afternoon, you’re through to London Taxi and Private Hire. You’re speaking with 2TfL, and how can I help you, today?
TD: Hello 2TfL. Was it 2TfL?
TfL: 2TfL
TD: 2TfL. Hello 2TfL. Yes, I wonder if you could. I spoke with a chap earlier on called 1TfL.
TfL: Okay.
TD: And I asked him a question, I’m a Taxi Driver, and I’ve spoken with the Trade Organisation that I’m in, as well, and they said give you a call, to verify a few things.
TfL: Okay.
TD: If I’m sitting at Stansted Airport.
TfL: Right.
TD: And an App job comes up on the phone. Can I accept that job? 1TfL seems to think I can
TfL: Yes, I believe, erm, if it’s being booked through the App, then yes, there shouldn’t be a problem. Why? Have you been advised otherwise?
TD: No, I can’t get an answer. So if I’m sitting anywhere in the country. If I’m in, I don’t know, Southampton or Brighton, or Manchester or Stockport, anywhere in the country. If the job comes through on the App, I can accept the job as a London Taxi Driver?
TfL: Alright, let me double check that. What type of licence do you have? Do you have, do you have an All London, or suburban?
TD: No, an All London Licence, a Green Badge.
TfL: All London, okay, alright. Just bear with me and let me double check that for you.
TD: Thank you.
TfL: No problem, right.
TfL: Hello?
TD: Hello, 2TfL.
TfL: Hello Sir. Thanks very much for your patience. Okay, so I’ve got clarification, and what I’ve been informed is; as long as it’s booked through the App you can take this booking. But of course, what comes into play is that you’ve got an All London Licence. As long as the booking was made from within London, then you are able to take that booking.
TD:  What does that mean? As long as it’s made in London?
TfL: So, say for instance, you … a booking was made in London to go to Sheffield, or something. Whilst you were in Sheffield, you had got another booking.
TD: Yep.
TfL: To come back into London, that booking would have had to have been made from London and requested from Sheffield. So the booking, the booking …
TD: Now I’m really confused.
TfL: Right, so any booking that you take.
TD: Yep.
TfL: Yep. Can only be made from within London.
TD What does that mean? “Made [from] within London.”?
TfL: It allows, so a booking made anywhere in London, you are able to go out of London with, okay. Say, if you picked up someone from London and they were going to Sheffield, yeah?
TD: Let’s forget London,. Let’s say, I’m in Sheffield.
TfL: Right.
Taxi Driver: Let’s say, I’m in Sheffield and I want to go to Southampton.
TfL: Right then, no I don’t believe you can do that, no.
TD: Why is that?
TfL: Because of the type of licence that you have.
TD: Why is that?
TfL: Because you have an All London Licence and not a Suburban Licence. So, that’s where the difference comes in. So, in terms of - you can take people out of London to wherever they want to go. But, say for instance if you’re coming … any booking that’s made in particular. Say you had just taken someone to Sheffield. Okay, so now …
TD: Sorry, about that.
TfL: No Problem.
TD: Just getting back …
TfL: Okay.
TD: If I’m in Sheffield.
TfL: Yeah.
TD: and I get an App job.
TfL: Yeah.
TD: And it gives me an App job to Southampton.
TfL: Right.
TD: I can’t accept that?
TfL: No, you cannot.
TD: Right. Why not?
TfL: Because you have an All London Licence. You don’t have a Suburban Licence. If you had a Suburban Licence, I believe that gives you the ability to take jobs outside of London.
TD: Right
TfL: So, what I’m saying…..
Taxi Driver: Hold on, let me get this absolutely straight. If I was at Sheffield.
TfL: Yep.
TD: And I had a Suburban, Yellow Badge, Licence.
TfL: Yep.
TD: I could then take that person from Sheffield to Southampton?
TfL: That’s correct. Because that covers that specific area. Your licence only covers you for London. So, hence why I’m saying any booking you take have to be made from London. So you can go anywhere from London. And you can go anywhere to London. As long as the booking was made in London.
TD: Right. And what’s the difference between a Yellow Badge, Suburban Driver doing that? What’s the difference?
TfL: Because they have different rights, to work in different areas. You have All London. They have Suburban.
TD: And Sheffield? Is that covered under the Suburban Licence?
TfL: I believe so, yes.
TD: Right, okay. Well, this gets even more confusing. But thanks for your information.
TfL: No Problem.
TD: Thanks for your help.
TfL: We do understand that it’s a bit confusing. But as I say, as long as you accept a booking that’s made from London, you’ll be absolutely fine.
TD: I don’t understand what that means “As long as I accept a booking made from London.”. The person is at Sheffield Station. Sheffield being hundreds of miles away from London.
TfL: Yep.
TD: They open the MyTaxi App, they push the button, and I’m sitting outside Sheffield Station.
TfL: You won’t be able to take it, because the booking wasn’t made from London.
TD: If I was a Yellow Badge, I could take that job, yeah?
TfL: Yes, that’s correct.
Taxi Driver: Thank you.
TfL: No problem.
TD: I’ll let my Suburban colleagues know.
TfL: No problem. That’s absolutely fine, sir.
TD: Thank You. Goodbye.
TfL: Thank you. Take care.
TD: Bye, bye.

Education! Education! Education!


  1. What is the correct and legal procedure regarding taxi drivers accepting bookings from an App?

  2. Hello Les well as I understand it it's quite simple if you are only a London or suburban black cab taxi driver you have to be in your licensed area to accept a job offer from an app on the other hand if you're a highly qualified licensed private hire driver you can accept a job from an app from anywhere you like I think that's correct hope it is of some help

  3. Hi DDD,

    Then your understanding is incorrect. If you are an All London driver then you can only allow the taxi you are driving to ply for hire in the controlled licencing district known as the GLA/Met area, but can also accept a job offer from an App when you are anywhere within England & Wales without the need of an additional license.

    If you are a London suburban driver then you can only allow the taxi you are driving to ply for hire in the controlled licencing district within the suburban sector you are licenced for within the GLA/Met area, but can also accept a job offer from an App when you are anywhere within England & Wales without the need of an additional license.

    When it was felt that the private hire industry needed to be regulated in England & Wales the government introduced the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976

    It was felt at that time that there was no need for hackney carriage drivers to need an additional licence as they were already heavily regulated and could accept a booking direct from a member of the public. Do you remember the days when booking were accepted and taken off the rank telephone?

    It is clear that the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 (PHV(L)A 1998) foresees London hackney carriage being used as private hire vehicles within London. PHV(L)A 1998, s 4(2)(b) allows a London private hire operator to use a London cab driven by a person who holds a London cab driver’s licence to discharge a booking for a private hire vehicle. A London used for private hire cannot charge more than shown on the meter. Regulation 9(8) of the Private Hire Vehicles (London) (Operators’ Licences) Regulations 2001 States:

    Where an operator provides a London cab for the purpose of carrying out a private hire booking, any fare payable in respect of the booking shall be calculated as if the vehicle was a private hire vehicle unless the fare shown on the taximeter is less.

    As outside London the question arises as to whether a person who takes bookings for Hackney carriages used for private hire purposes needs to hold a London private hire vehicle operator’s licence. It would appear that the answer is no, as the PHV(L)A 1998, s 2(1) specifically refers to the invitation or acceptance of ‘private hire Bookings’. PHV(L)A 1998, s 1(4) defines a private hire booking as meaning:

    ‘a booking for the hire of a private hire vehicle for the purpose of caring one or more passengers (including booking to carry out a sub-contractor a private hire booking accepted by another operator)’ and 2 1(1 )(a) specifically excludes a licensed taxi from the definition of private hire vehicle (‘licenses taxi’ is defined in PHV(L)A 1998, s 36 as ’a Hackney carriage. a London cab or taxi licensed under part II of the 1982 Act.

    The Government then due to hackney carriages being used as private hire vehicles asked the Law Commission to look into this and produced the Law Commission Reforming the law Taxi and Private Hire Services No. 347 where if you open it up on page 26 TAXIS WORKING OUT OF AREA 3.44

    Taxis should continue to be allowed to do “hail and rank” work only if the journey begins in their licensing area. This is because outside the licensing area there is no price protection, a driver operating outside their licensing area may well not have local topographical knowledge, and the standards of the taxi vehicle might be lower than those of local ones, undermining the utility of the local taxi standards that we recommend licensing authorities should be able to impose. Under our reforms, taxis would continue to be able to pick up passengers outside their licensing area, but only pursuant to a pre-booking.

    I hope that this clarifies the situation in legal terms and not those necessarily held by some within the trade who could finish up with egg on their faces.

    Best regards