All licensed drivers are regulated and CRB checked (now known as DBS) by Southampton City Council, with the majority also holding NVQ and BTEC qualifications in transporting passengers by taxi or private hire's.
For your security, nearly all Southampton Hackney Carriages and private hire's have CCTV cameras installed. All vehicles are MOT checked every year (compliance test) to ensure they are roadworthy. If a vehicle is more than 2 years old it also has to have an additional roadworthy test.
Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year to All from SHPHA!
If you click onto this link, it will take you to the Department for Transports Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Best Practice Guidance from the 17th November 2023.
What is interesting about the Government's response, is the subject of vehicle age limits.
Licensing authorities should not impose age limits for the licensing of vehicles but should consider more targeted requirements to meet its policy objectives on omissions.
We as a trade association are trying to get an extension on age limits for Southampton licensed vehicles.
We last provided an update in August as the Uber vs Sefton judgement came through. Armed with the new verdict, UTAG wrote to TfL with our grievances, once again pointing out that TfL has failed in its duty to protect the travelling public and its Licensees (legitimate Taxi drivers).
UTAG, with your ongoing support is intent on forcing TfL to regulate properly, otherwise, London will continue to be flooded with vehicles, stealing work, who have no right to work here.
It had also come to light that Data Cars have a ‘ghost office’ (an unmanned office) in Wolverhampton where drivers from all over the county, including London, are registering to circumvent the TfL topographical and English language tests. We believe that Data Cars are unfit to be a London Operator, as they are very deliberately undermining the regulatory regime.
This outrageous behaviour was brought to TfL’s attention yet again in August 2023. You will recall we first wrote to TfL in August 2019 on this matter and now in the absence of any reply we raised again with TfL on 17 October 2023. The letters are available below:
If TfL fail to act yet again, then they continue to undermine the whole regulatory regime. UTAG believe it is impossible for TfL to maintain their position on public safety, whilst allowing their own Operators to make a mockery of the licensing regime.
Utag put TfL on Notice of our intention to bring Part 8 Proceedings if they don't act. Public safety is the primary consideration of any licensing authority; it is of paramount importance that TfL do not allow mini cab drivers held to extremely low operating standards to flood the streets of London.
We commend the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on the government's decision to postpone the last date when new petrol or diesel cars can be manufactured.
The PM has confirmed the transition electric cars has been delayed by 5 years to ease the financial burden on Britons.
You can Read more here
Dear UTAG Supporter
Before we provide a comprehensive update, we’d like to start by thanking you for your donations and unwavering support.
In relation to legacy court cases, you are aware, UTAG has challenged TfL and others in a number of areas, in an effort to protect the industry, and regrettably, we have had to pay substantial costs as our recent challenges have been unsuccessful.
Whilst it is normal to pay ‘fair costs’, TfL have submitted the most outrageous costs bill, in relation to Bishopsgate, in what we believe is a deliberate effort to make UTAG insolvent. We are robustly challenging those costs (which are an unwanted distraction) whilst at the same time keeping the pressure on TfL for their failure to regulate. Our view is they prevaricate not regulate.
We apologise that we have not updated you sooner, however we were waiting for the judgment from Uber vs Sefton that we now have and this can be read in detail in the link below:
We’re certain that as a working driver, you, like us, have noticed the influx of mini cabs bearing Wolverhampton licensing plates and freely working in London. We can inform you that Data Cars, a Southeast London Operator, are openly encouraging drivers to circumvent TfL regulations and become licensed in Wolverhampton, which has an even lower barrier to entry than TfL.
Uber vs Sefton was primarily about “acceptance of the booking”, however, we believed that there would be references to the 1976 Miscellaneous Act vs 1998 Private Hire Act and we were not disappointed.
UTAG first raised the issue of cross border hiring's to TfL in a letter in August 2019, which remains unanswered. You can read our letter here:
Without getting overly technical, UTAG explained that what Uber was doing (using out of area cars) was not legal due to the need to be hired in the ‘controlled district’. The Judge in Uber vs Sefton agreed with our analysis, an analysis that TfL ignored.
In fact, the Judge, very similar to Lord Leggart in our Part 8 Declaration victory went even further and explained who could do what and where. In short, Uber vs Sefton has given very clear case law that what is currently happening, is illegal.
The ‘triple lock’, (an Operator, car and driver licensed by the same authority) only applies to bookings in the licensed areas ‘controlled district’, where all three are licensed by a single authority. The triple lock has been manipulated by several Operators, none more so than Uber and Data Cars.
Armed with the new verdict, UTAG has written to TfL with our grievances, once again pointing out that TfL has failed in its duty to protect the travelling public and its Licensees (legitimate Taxi drivers). TfL must act not only to protect the aforementioned Licensees but to also protect their own licensing revenues, especially given their precarious financial position.
UTAG, with your support aims to force TfL to regulate properly, otherwise, London will be flooded with vehicles, stealing work, who have no right to work here. TfL are allowing this. Let that sink in, our own regulator and with your support, UTAG will challenge it as nobody else will.
In addition to the verdict, it has come to light that Data Cars have a ‘ghost office’ (an unmanned office) in Wolverhampton where drivers from all over the county, including London, are registering to circumvent higher barriers to entry such as the TfL topographical and English language tests. We believe that Data Cars are unfit to be a London Operator, as they are very deliberately undermining the regulatory regime.
This outrageous behaviour has been brought to TfL’s attention and we wait to see how robust TfL’s disciplinary action (if any) shall be. TfL have a real opportunity to send a message to the whole marketplace and UTAG intends to ensure that they do so.
If TfL fail to act, then they undermine the whole regulatory regime. UTAG believe that it would be impossible for TfL to maintain their position on public safety, whist allowing their own Operators to make a mockery of the licensing regime. Public safety is the primary consideration of any licensing authority; it is of paramount importance that TfL do not allow mini cab drivers held to extremely low operating standards to flood the streets of London.
Although it shouldn’t be necessary, with your continued support, UTAG can continue holding TfL the ‘world class regulator’ to account for their failures to regulate. Without your determination and generosity, none of this would be possible and we’d like to sign off by saying thank you.
Angela Clarkson & Trevor Merralls
United Trade Action Group
This court judgement refers to the Local Government Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1976, with regards to a contract between the operator's of private hire vehicles and passengers.
I am hoping that there will not be any VAT implications connected with this Uber case.
It would appear that private hire operator's need to accept there is a contractual responsibility when transporting their passengers.
Southampton City Council can confirm that the best and only taxi rank for the Southampton International Boat Show will be up by the main entrance and the West Quay Shopping Centre
Southampton City Council (SCC) Licensing Department are holding a public meeting on Wednesday 14th June 2023 with regards to the contentious issue of Door Stickers on Southampton licensed vehicles.
The general public who use SCC licensed private hire vehicles need to know that the vehicle they are getting into, particularly at night, is the vehicle they booked with, showing clearly the name of the company and the license plate number identifiable on the vehicle.
Our association was set up in 2001 to help to promote Southampton Hackney Taxi drivers in our City?
We are interested in promoting the Hackney Carriage trade and in growing our membership.
All of our members are self employed drivers of white taxis, who are licensed and regulated by Southampton City Council.
Regular consultations are held with Southampton City Council licensing department and licensing councillors including other organisations for the benefit of the group and our historic City.
We are looking forward to working with the Southampton Boat Show organisers https://www.southamptonboatshow.com