Are these guys our enemies or friends? Every private hire driver has once been checked and controlled by a compliance officer. And their numbers is growing notably since TFL has hired more and more of compliance officers.
Who they are
Before developing about their intentions, let’s have a look about who they are. They are officially given power by TFL to regulate the Taxi and private hire industry on the roads. There are two types of compliance officers. The ones wearing a silver badge are standard officers while the ones wearing a golden badge are compliance managers. For a full description, please click here .
What they can do
They do regular checks at certain key locations verifying two things. They inspect the state and condition of the vehicle as well as the documentation of the driver.
If they find anything that is not following TFL standards and rules, they can stop any driver from working straight away. They will then notify the platform the driver is working for to make sure that no more driving is performed. Further actions will need to be taken by the driver to get back onto the platform. As an example, a defect headlight bulb will lead to a suspension of work until the headlight is replaced and confirmed by a new MOT. Such actions can make a driver miss several days of work.
One piece of advice that might save you time and money. Always carry with you spare light bulbs. If you get stopped and one of your bulb is not working, replace it in front of them and they will let you go.
The agenda behind it
Like everything in life, you may find strict and stubborn officers as well as more understanding and empathic ones.
If individually there are not necessarily with bad intentions, we can definitely guess that they are part of a new policy and agenda aiming to reduce the number of PH drivers on the roads. Especially since TFL has increased their numbers with an intense recruitment campaign.
Where they are
It is always worth knowing where they are located. Here is a non-exhaustive list of where they often patrol:
– Any airport drop off area (especially Heathrow airport)
– AVA in Heathrow airport.
– St Pancras station drop off point.
– Stratford station unofficial drop off point (in front of Stratford centre).
– West end and Soho.
– The Angel and Upper Street.