car in London Provided by Addison Lee
20th January 2016

Addison Lee Welcomes Biggest Shake Up of Minicab Regulation in 15 Years

TfL puts customer choice at the heart of regulation levelling the playing field between minicabs and taxis.

Addison Lee has today welcomed Transport for London’s (TfL) proposals to further liberalise minicab regulation.

TfL has put customer choice at the heart of the proposals which it intends to take forward, letting minicab companies offer innovative services to their clients.  Addison Lee is delighted that its on-demand services have today been given a clean bill of health by TfL.

TfL has however ducked a number of awkward questions relating to the safety of the industry making only incremental changes to insurance regime. Minicab companies have not been required to insure all of their vehicles – as Addison Lee does – meaning that Londoners continue to be in the dark about whether their minicab is in fact insured.   Addison Lee urges all minicab companies, big and small, to obtain Operators’ Insurance and not make ensuring public safety the responsibility of their drivers.

Andy Boland, Addison Lee’s Chief Executive Officer, said:

“We are glad to see that sanity has prevailed and that TfL is enabling innovation in the private hire industry.  Today’s announcements provide reassurance to our customers who love our on demand services and paves the way for Addison Lee to offer further innovative products. We were the first to bring a minicab booking smartphone app to the London market in 2009 and we will continue to lead the way in terms of innovation”

Addison Lee calls on TfL to continue to consult closely with industry regarding the implementation of today’s decisions.  Addison Lee is working closely with TfL on an impact assessment of its proposals.

In particular, Addison Lee urges TfL to ensure that all of London’s minicab drivers are safe, that every minicab is roadworthy and that every minicab company takes responsibility for the behaviour of its drivers. Recent events around Heathrow demonstrates what happens when minicab companies fail to take responsibility for their drivers’ conduct.

Andy Boland, Addison Lee, Chief Executive Officer, adds:

“We regret that TfL has not grasped the nettle on forcing minicab companies to insure all vehicles which do jobs for them as Addison Lee does.  Most minicab companies rely on their drivers to buy ‘hire and reward insurance’ and keep up payments on the policy.  While most minicab companies check the policy on joining and when it expires, there are few if any guarantees that Operators are able to spot if payments have been missed and policies lapse.  If the worst happens, Londoners might rue choosing the cheapest player in the market”

Addison Lee has urged TfL to ensure that all minicab companies and car booking apps fall under its jurisdiction and that they pass a ‘fit and proper test’.  Currently businesses can operate minicab services effectively outside of TfL’s regulation and without being a registered UK company or having a UK bank account.

Andy Boland continues:

“Addison Lee has been part of the London landscape for some 40 years and we are proud to be a part of the community that we serve.  We charge VAT on the majority of our fares.  Today’s decisions are surprising in that they do nothing to stop minicab companies contracting out core parts of their business to tax efficient jurisdictions, thus minimising tax liabilities.  We anticipate that HM Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs will have strong views about these consequences and we look forward to hearing their position, as well as the views of the incoming Mayor”

The TfL Regulatory Review is ongoing and the Mayoral Race begins on 21st March 2016.

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