Request ID: FOI-1663-2223 Date published: 03 November 2022
1. What is the average time for a license to be issued to an applicant who has provided on time all the necessary elements and fees without any gaps, missing documents or delays and passed the topograhical test?
2. How many Private Hire Driver's licenses have been issued to persons who applied as of November 2019 to date?
3. How many Private Hire driver's licenses have been issued to persons who successfully passed the Topographical assessment as of November 2019 to date?
4. Since your department for Taxi and Private Hire Vehicles is not accessible by phone as it used to be in the past although on TfL site they claim to have a phone line, since there is no other way of contacting them except an email address and since their only reply to the emails I ve been sending for months now is a copy- paste " Your application is undergoing a full assessment " and " Thank you for your patience " without making any trouble to explain what and why is happening, please let me know how and to whom I can escalate my complaint about this unfair situation and which authority is overseeing /regulating the specific department.
Our Ref: FOI-1663-2223
Thank you for your request received on 8 October 2022 asking for information about private hire driver licences.
Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can confirm we hold the information you require. You asked for:
What is the average time for a license to be issued to an applicant who has provided on time all the necessary elements and fees without any gaps, missing documents or delays and passed the topograhical test?
How many Private Hire Driver's licenses have been issued to persons who applied as of November 2019 to date?
How many Private Hire driver's licenses have been issued to persons who successfully passed the Topographical assessment as of November 2019 to date?
Given the volume of applications we receive, the fact that each one differs depending on the individual circumstances of the applicant, that aspects of the licensing process are outside of TfL’s control and that each application is considered on a case-by-case basis, there is no specific timeframe for processing an application. We also do not record information in a way which would enable us to answer your third question.
We issued 88,094 private hire driver's licenses to persons who applied from November 2019 – October 2022.
Once we receive a private hire driver application an initial assessment takes place to ensure the required documents have been provided and that the mandatory requirements for licensing are met. This stage also includes ensuring an enhanced DBS check has been undertaken by the applicant, which is undertaken by a third party and is outside of the applicant’s or TfL’s control. At this stage there may also be a process of requesting and receiving any missing materials until the application is deemed to be fully complete. An applicant is then invited to apply for a topographical skills assessment and a safety, equality and regulatory understanding (SERU) assessment (for applications submitted from 1 October 2021). The time taken to complete the assessments depends on a number of factors, including how quickly an applicant books an assessment, the availability of assessments (which have been impacted by nationwide COVID lockdowns) and the applicants’ ability to meet the required standard, or whether any retest of an assessment is required. The licence application process is complex, multi-staged and often iterative, which can involve requests for further information or clarity from applicants. There are also a number of elements in the licensing process that are outside of TfL’s control, such as the completion of a DBS check and submission of any required medical information. Therefore, there is no target for when licensing decisions are taken and this depends on individual applications. In each case we need to ensure that an applicant is ‘fit and proper’ to ensure the continued safety of the travelling public. For example, the time required to process an application may increase as a consequence of:
Applications being submitted but found to be incomplete or inaccurate
Checking that an applicant meets the mandatory requirements for licensing, such as the right to work in the UK, and that they hold the relevant driving licence and driving experience
Consideration of the applicant’s medical fitness and whether they meet the DVLA’s Group 2 standard of medical fitness to drive. This may include a full review of the applicant’s medical history by our medical advisors
Ensuring that the applicant’s character meets the required standard, including a review of the results of an enhanced DBS check
The candidate successfully completing the required topographical skills and safety, equality and regulatory understanding (SERU) assessments
Further information on the requirements for licensing can be found at the following location: www.tfl.gov.uk/info-for/taxis-and-private-hire/licensing. You can complain to us about the services we provide by sending an email to: [email protected].
I apologise that this process is taking longer than you anticipated and that you did not receive a more comprehensive response following your contact with us. I have asked our licensing department to review your application and contact you as soon as possible with information regarding the progression of your licence application. If this is not the information you are looking for please feel free to contact me.
Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.
Gemma Jacob Senior FOI Case Officer FOI Case Management Team General Counsel Transport for London