Union says too many drivers are working too hard to earn too little, putting passengers at risk

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, GMB,


UberThe GMB has called for Transport for London to cap the number of cabs in the city.

As the High Court hears a case involving Uber about whether smartphones, used by some private hire drivers, are taximeters, the union says drivers need protection from dwindling incomes. This follows the publication last week by TFL of proposals for consultation on modernising private hire regulations in London.

Steve Garelick, GMB Branch Secretary Professional Drivers, said: “We shall consult members on these proposals and will respond in detail at that point.

“We consider that instead of concentrating on the platforms used by the public to book cabs, TFL should recognise the key point that safeguarding passenger safety and driver income are two sides of the same coin. You cannot have one without the other.

“This means that drivers need to be protected from dwindling income forced by the failure to cap numbers which in turn increase risks to passengers. TFL should look to build on the following principles in the consultation on modernising private hire regulations.”

The union wants:

  • an agreed cap on the number of licenced vehicles and drivers in London. All vehicles and drivers to meet agreed standards.
  • fares to be set at a level that all operators, including Uber, can enable drivers to earn a living without excessive hours avoiding the risks  of driver fatigue and places an obligation on the operator for occupational safety.
  • a system to deal with complaints that drivers make about operators behaviour from illegal deductions or failings to return rent or insurance deposits to being barred or dismissed for refusing bookings.
  • an agreed system to confirm the driver assigned to an app is the driver carrying out journeys.
  • all payments from passengers to operators on journeys should be UK based to give greater protection to users and to make tax evasion impossible.
  • in-venue licences to be retained – as we believe removing it as TFL propose will allow a tout culture to grow with no control on venues or the staff who profit from the illegal trade.
  • an insurance mini certificate to protect the good name of drivers should be shown in a similar location to the tax disk to protect the entire trade which will save insurers millions in fraudulent claims.
  •  proposals to deal with attacks on drivers and driver’s safety, evading licence requirements by using courier licences, costs of licences and pre-booking, etc.


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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