Illegal private hire touting and countermeasures : case study of City of Westminster, London

Owolabi-Ajao, Babatunde Alexander (2019) Illegal private hire touting and countermeasures : case study of City of Westminster, London. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


Private Hire Operators, Drivers and Vehicles are regulated under the Private Hire Vehicle (London) Act 1998. The Secretary of State delegated the authority within this Act to Transport for London (TfL) as the Licensing Authority. Since the enactment of the PHV (London) Act in 1998, TfL has successfully licensed over 100,000 Private Hire Vehicles and Drivers in London. Private Hire Vehicles (PHV) are not permitted to be hailed and Private Hire Drivers (PHD) are not permitted to approach customers to offer them Private Hire Services (PHS) in London. However, the increasing number of PHVs and PHDs in London has stimulated the competition among the drivers. This appears to have made it very challenging for PHDs to earn a living and promoted illegal Private Hire (PH) touts. The PHV (London) Act 1998 was created to regulate the Private Hire Industry (PHI); while the legislation has promoted PHDs and PHVs to be licenced, the legislation has not prevented illegal PH touting in London. This thesis contributed to the author’s knowledge and professional practice by demonstrating the complexity of the PHV (London) Act, which can be easily exploited by illegal drivers. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, this research critically analysed the complexity of the legislation through the views of the people that enforce the legislation, deliver the service and use the service. This research was able to demonstrate how the advent of technology in the PHI has made it difficult to enforce illegal PH touting. Due to some of these challenges, TfL fund a dedicated Police team to work with TfL Compliance Officers to undertake anti-touting activities. While TfL and Police partnership have reduced illegal PH touting, TfL Compliance Officers need enforcement powers to effectively manage illegal PH touting in London and minimise the risks on the customers which can be sexual harassment or unwanted sexual behaviour.

Owolabi-Ajao,Babatunde Alexander_Thesis.pdf - Published Version

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