Written evidence from the City of London
Corporation (TPH 58)|
This letter responds to the Committee's call for
evidence as part of the inquiry into issues surrounding the licensing
of taxis and private hire vehicles. As the Public Carriage Office
now performs the licensing role in London, the City Corporation
is not in a position to respond fully, to the Committee's questions.
Nevertheless, the following comments in the context of the night
time economy may be useful to the Committee as background.
The City of London has witnessed considerable growth
in the night time economy with now over 400 licensed premises
within the Square Mile. As the City only has a small residential
population, most of the people making use of the night-time economy
in the City live elsewhere and therefore require late night transport
The City of London Corporation and City of London
Police together with other partners have been working closely
together to mitigate certain negative aspects of an increased
night-time economy in the City area. These can arise during weekdays
when office workers seek entertainment after work hours, but are
increasingly also being felt on Friday and Saturday nights with
the increase of promoted events in licensed premises. Where there
are numerous premises with late licences, there are often large
numbers of people dispersing onto the streets in the small hours.
The City benefits from a variety of transport options, including
overground (main line) rail services, Underground lines and bus
routes. Taxis however remain a very popular method of returning
home after a late night out.
Recognising that using public transport at night
when transport options are more limited can be intimidating for
some groups of people, the Safer City Partnershipthe City
of London's Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership - launched
a marshalled taxi rank at Liverpool Street Station. The scheme
is operated by Taxi Marshalls, who are licensed taxi drivers supported
by police officers, aid passengers to get a taxi to their destination
and provide a safe waiting environment. They help to ensure that
the supply of taxis meets the demand at any given time, and that
taxis are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis helping
to avoid disputes in the queue. The rank operates on Wednesday,
Thursday and Friday evenings from 10.00 pm to 2.00 am with additional
provision in the run up to Christmas.
This scheme is funded and supported by the City of
London Corporation, the Safer City Partnership and Transport for
London. Additional locations are considered when demand arises,
although Liverpool Street has thus far proven to be the only appropriate
location for a permanent site. 121,475 people have used the rank
since January 2010, bringing the total number of passengers through
the scheme since it started in June 2006 to 581,134. These passengers
have been transported from the area in 245,286 licensed black
cabs (as of 30 November 2010). The numbers of passengers being
moved from the area has increased by approximately 11,000 per
year for the last 3 years showing the popularity of the scheme.
The City Police also participates in Operation Regina
in partnership with the Police Support Group, the Roads Policing
Unit, TfL and the Public Carriage Office (PCO). This operation
is carried out on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and involves
stopping minicabs and black cabs and checking drivers' details
against the Police National Computer and the Criminal Record Office.
Vehicles are also checked to identify whether any offence has
been committed. If any offence is disclosed the details are then
handed to the PCO. The PCO have a policy of one strike and out
when it comes to touting offences and approximately 20 vehicles
per month are being removed from the road through this operation.
Operations with PCO officers and examiners are run at least two
or three times per month in the City.