The taxi, private hire, minicab and chauffeur industry is the worst regulated industry in the UK, thanks to a lack of will to enforce the law

 

LicensedTransportUncovered.com (LTU), was founded in early 2015 by the Secret Squirrel. Little is known of the Squirrel, except that he has a background in intelligence. His trademark sayings – ‘assume nothing, believe nobody, check everything’ or ‘lead them down the garden path, then kick em in the bollocks’, or his hatred of out of town taxis has led to a loyal following on social media.

It is believed that in late 2009, the Squirrel suffered at the hands of a ‘ride from hell’ in a minicab and this fateful night led him to investigate why the standards of the industry were so low. This initial look into the workings of the minicab industry resulted in the Squirrel concluding that the industry as a whole – taxis, minicabs, private hire, chauffeurs and limousines – was one of, if not, the worst regulated industry in the UK.

LTU works with the trade and their associations to raise awareness of the industry concerns on a local and national level. Our philosophy is to use education, investigative journalism and direct action to ensure that the industry is fully represented.

Working with Police forces across the UK to help educate them on the licensing legislation for taxis and private hire vehicles and drivers. Also, to help police forces and their officers understand that no vehicle and driver licence will mean NO insurance. LTU will work on a local and national level to ensure councils and the relevant authorities are proactive on enforcement.

Using education, awareness campaigns, investigative journalism and direct action, LTU will always keep up the pressure on those that don’t enforce the law. Our combined experience makes our team a formidable force in the industry.

Supporting the trade is a priority for LicensedTransportUncovered.com. The industry is let down by a multitude of reasons which we aim to significantly improve through a combination of education, enforcement and a regulation that fits the twenty first century.

In London, Transport for London (TfL) are constantly under attack by the hackney and private hire trade due to a licence today, never enforce the law tomorrow attitude. Outside London there are passionate individuals and local trade associations who work tirelessly to improve the trade and hold those charged with enforcing the law and legislation.

We are aware the industry is accused of being fragmented and not working together for the greater good, except in a few rare cases, such as Uber. With so many different associations and unions it is concerning that the trade doesn’t have more power and influence. To be fair this is not the trades fault because if you are up against people who won’t or don’t want to listen it doesn’t really matter how big the drum is that you’re banging.

Licensed Transport Uncovered is here to make a difference. We may have limited resources as we start out, but our reputation precedes the launch of licensedtransportuncovered.com. For a year now we have been working in the background on ‘high-profile’ cases working with an ever growing number of government agencies.

LTU relies on the trade to come forward with issues or concerns on a local or national level. With our dedicated team of experts we are able to take on the most complicated cases. Our aim is to use cases to raise awareness through education to make the trade safer by working with our partners and suppliers to the industry.

We have set the bar very high, but our aim is to make it impossible for unlicensed operators, vehicles or drivers to operate in the UK within three years. It is fair to say that we may be taking on an impossible task, but our unique approach gives us the confidence we can achieve our goal.

The traditional  licensed hackney trade is an industry under attack the likes of which have never been seen before whether it be from technology or a lack of enforcement .Hackney carriage drivers who invest time and money operating legally are being let down on an industrial scale.

An example of this is the current ill conceived Transport for Londons public consultation into Private Hire. The way it has been drafted you would be forgiven for thinking that a “mini cab service” was new to the capital not something that had been licensed since 1998 and TFL, unsure of what they should do, are requesting ideas of how it should be run. We believe all the industry wants is a level playing field, for consumers to be safe and a fair and balanced approach to legislation.

Less consultations and more enforcement would be a good place to start, it certainly would receive our backing and a good deal of those working in the trade. LTU uses various  approaches when addressing the industry’s concerns. We will always give the authorities the opportunity to act and we will work with them, but in the event they don’t LTU will use a combination of investigative journalism, direct action and high profile campaigns to protect the hackney trade.

By working with the trade LTU can raise hackney carriage drivers concerns and help bring change to the industry.

The private hire industry is facing problems across the UK. In London as with the hackney trade a lack of enforcement is causing tensions as the safety of the public is being jeopardised.

Other issues include out of town hackney’s and web based technology companies running a coach and horses through the legislation whilst the existing trade fights to stay in business operating legally and with their customers and drivers safety a number one priority.

Touting, Illegal plying for hire is at pandemic proportions nationally. Under the current legislation, illegal plying for hire is enforced by council licensing enforcement officers. Regrettably no licensing authority of any council in the UK has found an effective way to deal with this problem. A solution to the problem of proprietors and drivers finding the cheapest, least regulated licensing regimes in the country, obtaining a hackney licence then going elsewhere to work as private hire has to be found!

LicensedTransportUncovered.com, is here to help the trade gain a voice and  a stronger position. Our experts know the private hire industry inside and out and  with this expertise it enables us to investigate concerns in a unique way.

We are always here to support existing associations and to work together for the greater good of the industry. We can make a difference, but for that to work the industry needs to come together  support our work and let us know of any concerns.

The UK chauffeur and limousine industry is prone to the problem of people and operators working outside the law. There is a saying at LTU; ‘too posh to licence’ this refers to those operators that because they have a shiny car and a nice web site believe they do not have to be licensed.

There is a worrying trend that this side of the industry is plagued by illegal unlicensed vehicles, drivers and operators. Even though the contract hire exemption was repealed in 2008 there are plenty of people out there still misusing it. The government have been unequivocal on what vehicles should be licensed but for those in any doubt should click here.

LTU is here to support the legal side of the trade and to eliminate the unlicensed side which not only gives the trade a bad reputation, but also puts consumers in real danger. If you work for or know someone that is operating whilst unlicensed please let us know by contacting our confidential whistleblower hotline.

Why should a legitimate  chauffeur or limousine operator go to all those added costs and through all those hoops when the illegal side of the trade operate with impunity?

LTU are here to help and clean up the trade, using our know how and contacts we will shut down rogue operators, along with educating consumers and businesses through our campaigns such as Project Parker, Operation Shield or Operation Pandora we hope to support and strengthen the trade

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