The first wave of the mayor's new beefed up compliance team to tackle illegal cab activity in the capital has hit the streets.
Sadiq Khan unveiled plans to crack down on illegal taxis and minicabs in August and 50 of the 250 new officers have now joined the existing team of 82, which Khan says is "just the first step". They'll be tasked with cracking down on illegal activity such as touting and plying for hire, as well as undertaking vehicle checks and making sure drivers have the right paperwork.
The mayor announced Transport for London's (TfL) taxi and private hire compliance team would be quadrupled to 250 and the numbers will be bolstered over the next six months, with the aim of having more than 300 operating by the summer of 2017.
Since April this year, TfL's compliance officers have stopped around 37,000 black cabs and minicabs to check drivers have the right identification and assess their vehicles for any defects.
Drivers who are unlicensed or flout the rules not only pose a risk to Londoners’ safety, but also undermine the work of the hard-working and professional drivers who provide a vital service to millions of Londoners every year.
Every Londoner and visitor to our city must feel safe getting around London. The roll-out of more compliance officers over the coming months will be crucial in driving up standards and ensuring Londoners remain safe.
The initial announcement back in August drew criticism from unions for failing to put cab hailing app firms like Uber under the spotlight. The general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union Mick Cash said "e-hailing" smartphone services "circumvents the current regulation regime which is there to protect the travelling public".
Cash said: "Neither TfL or the mayor have the will to tackle this blatant flouting of the regulations by the likes of Uber."
Uber London general manager Tom Elvidge welcomed the development as a "move to tackle unlicensed cars and illegal activity in London".
He added: It's important that people only use a properly booked car from a licensed private hire operator."