Friday, 13 May 2016

Taxi and minicabs

Taxicabs are regulated in the United Kingdom, the regulation of taxicabs in London is very rigorous with regard to integrity and driver knowledge. The official report observed that however is known about the regulation by anyone outside the trade. The Public Carriage Office, which regulates and licenses taxis and private hire (known as minicabs) was transferred from the police to become part of Transport for London. Only the licensed hackney carriages (black cab) can pick up passengers on the street and without pre-booking. London's black cabs (despite being of various colours and advertising designs) are specially constructed taxis designed to the standards set out in the Conditions of Fitness. London taxi drivers are licensed and must pass an extensive training course (the Knowledge). Unlike other cities, the number of taxi cab drivers in London is not limited. For years purpose-designed vehicles were used, but from about 2008 specially-adapted "people carrier" vehicles also have been used. There are many models over the years. The space beside the driver's seat can be used for luggage, there is much luggage room in the passenger compartment. For improved manoeuvrability, the turning circle is smaller than other vehicles of similar size . The cab seats three people on the back seat, and 2 more in backwards-facing seats. There is good headroom, to facilitate entry to and exit from the vehicle. A ramp for access by disabled people is fitted in every black cab. In London the term minicab is used to refer to a private hire car and the term private hire is used in the rest of the United Kingdom; that is a car with a driver available for hire only on a pre-booked basis. They began operating in the 1960's in competition with hackney carriages after a loophole in the law was spotted. A minicab must be booked, for example, by telephone, internet, or fax, or in person at the office. A minicab can be booked at the time it is required, but only at the office of a company registered to accept bookings rather than directly with a driver. Since 2001 minicabs are subject to some regulation in London and most other local authorities. London minicabs are now licensed by TFL, or LTPH, formerly known as the Public Carriage Office. This is the same body that now regulates London's licensed taxicabs, but the minicab drivers do not have to complete 'The Knowledge', and although they must undergo a small 'test' in order to obtain a 'Private Hire' Drivers Licence, they generally rely on sat navs to take them to the destination. All vehicles available for pre-booking by London minicab drivers must hold a P.H licence showing that the vehicles are fit for purpose; this is updated with 'mot tests' twice a year after an inspection at a licensed garage. In London applicants must send their test Certificate along with their application to the P.H Driver Licensing Section of the LTPH. These are the many differences outlined above between hackney black cabs and minicab taxis. Although there is much going on in 2016 in London with TFL and Uber in the mix!