Transport for London's proposals for regulating private hire vehicles (PHV) have been slammed by Black Cab campaigners, who claim they allow companies like Uber to continue to "ply for hire".
TfL today revealed plans for a shake-up of the sub-sector, which will include rules stipulating that drivers have a good command of English - but it is dropping its original suggestion that Uber and its competitors be restricted by a five-minute waiting period before picking up customers.
Uber has argued that this would be hugely damaging to its entire business model - but Black Cab campaigners claim current rules allow PHVs to effectively circumvent rules around minicabs plying for hire.
The London Transport Drivers Association has not yet commented, but smaller campaign groups have been particularly vocal.
Artemis Mercer, the wife of a Black Cab driver and the person behind the Action for Cabbies campaign, said: “TfL’s failure to regulate the swelling London private hire industry is proving to be an epidemic and they are now struggling to contain it.
“What’s worse is TfL is simply passing the buck to the government when tackling soaring congestion. This should have been thought through before any licence had been granted in 2012."
Mercer is currently running a crowdfunding project to challenge this decision. She is hoping to raise £600,000, and since it launched this weekend has secured just over £50,000.
“When Transport for London granted Uber a licence in 2012, it became a law maker instead of the law enforcer it should be – it has since failed to regulate the industry appropriately and adequately protect the lives of passengers," she added.
“The blurring of lines between the original two tier sector continues and effectively allows private hire operators to ‘ply for hire’ via an app so they can just congregate where they know there will be lots of people and wait.”
United Cabbies Group and its supporters, meanwhile, have tweeted their frustration at TfL, dubbing the review "an Uber whitewash".
@TfL Bob Crow said whilst you were negotiating with TFL they would be doing the opposite behind your back, snake oil salesman deja vu SM— United Cabbies Group (@UnitedCabbies) January 20, 2016
Also dropped, a requirement for the facility to pre book journeys up to 7 days in advance— TAXILEAKS© (@taxi_leaks) January 20, 2016
ITS BEEN AN UBER WHITEWASH
TfL bottle it over new PH regs— TAXILEAKS© (@taxi_leaks) January 20, 2016
Dropped 5 minute rule
Dropped ban on multi operator working
Dropped ban on show cars plying for hire in app