Transport for London approves new regulations to "modernise and improve the private hire industry" as it cracks down on the growth of Uber

James Nickerson
Follow James
London Black Cab Drivers To Protest Over Uber Taxis
TfL say the measures follow an extensive consultation process (Source: Getty)

Transport for London has approved a new plan to modernise and improve London's private hire industry.

It is the first significant amendment to private hire regulations since they were first introduced following the surge in the number of private hire vehicles in the capital after the meteoric rise of Uber.

The private hire vehicles will now have to have "hire and reward" insurance in place for the duration of the licence, which TfL says will improve passenger safety.

Read more: Uber drivers are more productive than taxi drivers

Meanwhile, all drivers will have to speak English to a minimum standard.

Garrett Emmerson, TfL’s chief operating officer for surface transport, said: “These regulations will set the foundations for the private hire industry in the coming years with new robust measures in place to protect customers. We will implement these changes as soon as possible.”

The Mayor had come under increasing pressure to crack down on the exponential growth of private hire vehicles, given a 25,000-vehicle strong Uber.

But Steve McNamara, general cecretary of the London Taxi Drivers' Association (LDTA), said the changes did not go far enough.

"TfL has wasted a huge opportunity to improve standards within the private hire industry for the benefit of drivers, passengers and other road users," he said. "We are pleased TfL has committed to taking some of them forward, but as result of undue influence, TfL has not gone anywhere far enough."

Read more: Khan wants to crack down on Uber drivers to "level the playing field"

The board has also agreed that fare estimates for customers must be made. Driver and vehicle details must be available to customers, while operators must keep records to provide information to TfL. Customers must also be able to speak to someone in the event of a problem with their journey.

TfL says the regulations will remain under review to ensure that they keep pace with the changing industry and support a modern and thriving trade, given the welcome technological innovations that have increased choice for customers in recent years.