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London Proposes New Regulation for Ride-Hailing Apps

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TfL has published new proposed guidelines to regulate cab-hailing services

London’s transport authority has released new guidelines for ride-hailing services, emphasising the importance of safety, working conditions and personal data protection.

Transport for London (TfL) published the new policy statement, roughly six months after it denied Uber the license to operate in the city.

The document shows that, whatever the fate of Uber — which has appealed TfL’s decision and keeps operating in London— all mobility companies will have to adhere to more stringent regulation in the future.

Enhanced safety for both passengers and drivers is one of the pillars of London’s proposed plan.

“Safety will be a particular focus in new or novel areas where there is little existing evidence of what happens in practice,” the document reads. “Maintaining high standards of safety is the top priority and operators should clearly demonstrate this.

“That means setting out clear policies and action for the prevention and reporting of offences and for clear, named accountability at senior management level for safety, reporting and protection of personal data.”

The document also deals with the thorny issue of the gig economy: Uber drivers, like many other people working for app-based services, are not strictly considered Uber employees, which means they are not entitled to the same degree of protection and benefits workers have.

Now TfL says that ride-hailing companies will be asked to “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”.

TfL also said it will ask companies to share travel data with the city,  “so that travel patterns in London and the overall impact of the services can be understood.”

There is still no precise timeline for TfL’s guidelines implementation, although consultations with stakeholders about  the document will start in the next few months.

 

 

Image via bit.ly/2o36GQQ

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