Guest Blog by George Matthews, Paralegal at Geoffrey Miller Solicitors
From 1 March 2012 all taxi drivers in London are required to display taxi driver identifiers in the front and rear windows of their taxis. There are two different types of identifiers – a Green Badge for those taxis licensed to pick up fares in all parts of London, and a Yellow Badge for those taxis licensed for suburban areas only. The Yellow Badge also identifies which sectors the licence covers.
Although taxi laws and offences are fairly niche areas of motoring law we thought we'd post some clarification for those who may be confused by the changed procedures:
1. What happens if I don’t display my identifier?
Failure to display identifiers in the form prescribed by Transport for London (TfL) or displaying identifiers that bear a different number to the driver’s badge are breaches of the London Cab Order 1934. The London Taxi and Private Hire (TPH) Staff Manual provides that action should be taken in accordance with the following guidelines:
(i) Not displaying identifiers: A written warning will be the norm for a first offence in the period of the current and preceding licence. Unless there is significant mitigation, a second offence will result in a suspension for one month, and a third offence in the same period will result in revocation of the driver’s licence.
(ii) If the driver is not displaying identifiers because they have been lost or stolen and he has informed TPH, no further action is necessary. However, if the driver fails to inform TPH action as at (i) above should be considered.
(iii) Displaying identifiers in the wrong place: A Compliance Officer should resolve on the spot either by issuing an additional wallet to affix in the correct location or making a note to send an additional wallet to licensee’s address.
(iv) Displaying identifiers with the wrong badge number: Each case will be judged on its own merits although if there is evidence of fraudulent activity consideration must be given to suspending or revoking the driver’s licence (see also (v) below).
(v) If a driver is found displaying forged, fake or stolen identifiers, consideration must be given to suspending his licence pending further investigation. On completion of the investigation the driver’s fitness to remain licensed must be reviewed. See also “I copied my mate’s identifier...” below.
(vi) Drivers displaying photocopies of their identifiers, and storing their original elsewhere in their taxi: The driver should be given a verbal warning and advised to display the correct identifiers. A record of the warning must be made and should the driver repeat the offence it should be dealt with as at (i) above.
2. Why have these identifiers been introduced?
The identifiers are designed to encourage compliance by drivers, including plying for hire within their licensed area. They are not intended to restrict the areas in which taxis can work, but aid TfL Compliance Officers and the police.
3. What happens if I lose my identifier?
If you have lost or had your identifier stolen you must notify TPH immediately. In the interim, they will issue a letter stating you are waiting for your replacement to be delivered and can continue working.
4. I saw a Yellow Badge holder in central London. Should I confront them about this?
There are a number of reasons why a Yellow Badge holder may legitimately be in central London or in a sector other than those for which they are licensed, including:
· Dropping off fares that started in their sector but ended outside it;
· Picking up fares that were pre-booked when the driver was in their sector;
· The driver is licensed for one of the two extension areas; and
· The driver is plying for hire at an ‘island rank’.
If the Yellow Badge holder was plying for hire outside their designated area, a written warning will be the norm for a first offence in the period of the current and preceding licence. Unless there is significant mitigation, a second offence will result in a suspension for one month, and a third offence in the same period will result in revocation of the driver’s licence.
Even if the Yellow Badge holder was not in central London for a legitimate reason, the correct action to take is to report this to TPH. Their guidance states that “any driver found confronting another driver for any reason risks having their suitability to be licensed reviewed which may ultimately lead to their licence being suspended or revoked.”
5. I copied my mate’s identifier and the police caught me. What will happen?
The Driver and Operator Policy Manager at TPH has said: “I must stress that any driver found using a forged or fake identifier will have their licence suspended pending the outcome of the police investigation and any subsequent court case. To date a number of drivers have been arrested and investigations are ongoing.”
6. I don’t agree with the decision to revoke/suspend my licence. Can I appeal?
Any taxi driver who is dissatisfied with the decision of TfL to suspend or revoke his taxi driver's licence may, within 28 days, ask TfL to reconsider its decision. You may be accompanied by a legal or other representative at this hearing. The hearing is primarily an opportunity for you to speak for yourself and to bring attention to matters which you feel TfL should take into consideration in reviewing its decision. Even when you are represented you will be encouraged to speak for yourself. You should be notified of the outcome of the reconsideration within 28 days. Unless the revocation or suspension is with immediate effect for public safety reasons, drivers can continue working while the appeal is ongoing. If the you are not satisfied with the result of the reconsideration by TfL you may then appeal the result, within 28 days, to the appropriate magistrates’ court.
Please get in touch with any member of the team at Geoffrey Miller Solicitors on 08000 85 27 84 if you are a taxi driver needing expert legal help. Don't forget to mention our special offer of a 10% discount on fees...