Independent Workers Union of Great Britain

IWGB recommends fairer private hire licensing rules in TfL consultation


19 June: The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain‘s (IWGB) United Private Hire Drivers (UPHD) branch has recommended shifting some of the cost of taxi and private hire regulation from private hire drivers to operators, in its submission to Transport for London’s (TfL)consultation on private hire fees.

Private hire drivers covered around 68% of the current taxi, private hire operator and private hire driver regulatory estimated budget of £136m through their licence payments. Drivers will still pay around twice as much as operators if TfL implements the changes it is currently proposing.

These proposals from TfL represent a continuation of the status quo with below minimum wage drivers effectively subsidising the licensing and compliance costs of the same multinational operators who deny them basic worker rights such as the minimum wage and holiday pay,” said UPHD branch chair James Farrar.

We propose a reduction of private hire driver licensing costs from the current £250 per 3 year term to £162.

Operator licence fees should also change to:

We have also suggested that TfL adopt the recommendation made by Frank Field MP, then-chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, in his report ‘Sweated labour: Uber and the gig economy’ that worker rights be made a condition of operator licensing.

Currently a large proportion of private hire drivers are having their worker rights denied, as operators refuse them holiday pay and a guaranteed minimum wage. A survey conducted by UPHD concluded that 70% of Uber drivers earned below the minimum wage, as do 75% of all private hire drivers

Our submission also asked that private hire drivers be given representation within TfL. Despite the contribution made by London’s roughly 117,000 private hire drivers to TfL‘s budget, the regulator doesn’t recognise any body that exclusively represents private hire drivers. Meanwhile, it recognises 5 separate organisations that represent some of the 25,000 taxi drivers based in the capital and multiple bodies for private hire operators.

Other recommendations include:

You can read UPHD’s submission to the TFL in more detail here


TfL has said that following the consultation changes will be introduced this summer.

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