Good morning everyone, today we are going to talk about . . . mini cabs, please! Do wake up at the back this IS important.
There have been 104 sexual assaults last year according to Transport for London’s figures for September 2008 down 44 per cent since 2002, mostly by unlicensed mini cab drivers.
The 80,000 private hire operators as we are supposed to call them now, are vetted but there are a growing number of bogus drivers.
They buy second hand cars at auction, complete with Public Carriage Office certification affixed to the cars’ windscreens, these vehicles usually fetch a higher price at these auctions and because the PCO certificate has a theft proof device it’s easier just to buy the whole car.
[B]y hanging around in the West End, apparently with immunity from prosecution for touting or parking violations, this low life inveigle young people into their cars, they often charge exorbitant rates, and some even carry weapons to enforce their high charges. While even legal mini cabs park for long periods on double yellow lines outside their offices, apparently with complete immunity from prosecution.
And did you know anyone can register their vehicle as a ‘private hire vehicle’? There is even a new Rolls Royce with the appropriate documentation on its windows possibly registered just to avoid the congestion charge.
The criteria to become a mini cab driver is very flexible they only need a medical form signed by their doctor, a criminal record bureau disclosure check, photocopies of their DVLA/EU driving licence and documentation to show a right to work and live here while some documents can be provided as photostats, easily forged and they do not even have to show a command of Queen’s English.
And have you noticed the speed of the people carriers used as private hire? They are usually working for a large transport company, their pay is very low, and they have to work very long hours and every job counts.
The solution is very simple: enforcement, enforcement, enforcement.
More officers, at present there are plans to double the number of Enforcement Officers which at present amount to only 34 to cover the whole of London 24 hours a day.
Arresting touts and illegal ‘cabs’, there have been only 4,000 arrests since 2003.
If they are convicted, jail them. If they are illegal immigrants deport them (I really sound like your average cabbie now).