London’s transport authority unveiled proposed new rules for private hire taxi companies such as Uber by requiring them to limit working hours for their drivers, share data on travel patterns and ensure provision of wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
Companies “should ensure that drivers are treated fairly, ensure drivers have appropriate and reasonable working hours including appropriate breaks throughout their shift and have clear policies and procedures to keep drivers safe,” Transport for London said Thursday in its proposal. It also suggested ride-sharing services should include the possibility of women-only vehicles.
Uber Technologies Inc. is already fighting a decision last year by TfL to ban the company from operating in the capital because of safety concerns. The company is allowed to continue operating during the legal process, and both Uber and the transport authority have expressed a desire to reach a compromise that will allow its 40,000 drivers in the capital to continue to ply their trade.
TfL said in Thursday’s announcement that current rules for private hire firms need updating because the market has changed beyond recognition since they were last amended.
“The growth of ride-sharing and other advances mean that regulation has to be fit for the next decade and not the last,” Helen Chapman, TfL interim director of licensing, regulation and charging, said in a statement. “Our vision sets out clearly how we will manage these new developments that improve convenience for customers, while ensuring safety remains our top priority.”
The authority also said that its considering proposals to bring in an advanced driving test, fleet insurance for private hire companies, and rules for signage within the taxis. It’s also debating removing an exemption for payment of London’s congestion charge from the private hire fleets.
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