As a London private hire operator you must always be up to date with the new changes introduced by TFL regulations(https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/taxis-and-private-hire/new-private-hire-regulations) which are meant to raise standards in this industry by improving safety and convenience for customers.
It is well known that nowadays almost all private hire operators use a booking and dispatch system in order to manage their bookings, their fleet of drivers, their clients’ data base, their invoicing and not in the end their company’s documents and reports. Being a good manager in this field requires to have a great coverage of all the previous stated aspects.
With an intelligent taxi dispatch system, you should have no problem in complying with TFL regulations in no time and with no effort. In the next couple of lines, you will find out how SmartCar can help you automatize your workflow and save a lot of your precious time when dealing with the new requests.
Let’s take the TFL’s newly introduced changes for Private Hire operators by turn and see how they are covered by our intelligent cab, limo and taxi dispatch system:
1. Operators must provide a booking confirmation to a passenger before their journey starts. This must include the first name of the driver, their license number, vehicle registration mark and – where the passenger can receive it- a photo of the driver.
This option is already available with SmartCar so after making the booking and saving the details in the system (the back-office app) the operator has to press the Send email to passenger button which will immediately send the client an email with the booking details. When the driver is allocated in the system for that job the passenger will immediately receive a confirmation with his details by text message/ email. In this way the client will have all the details of the journey and those of the driver before his journey will start.
If the passenger has already registered with an account and decides to make the booking from his phone using the passenger’s app, in his account he will have all along the details of his booking and he can track his allocated driver until the moment of the pick-up.
2. From 11th of July 2016, all operators will be required to email TfL details of the drivers and vehicles they have used to fulfill bookings, or have had available to fulfill bookings. TfL will contact each operator directly to confirm how this information should be provided, in what format, and for what time periods.
By using the Reports button in the back-office and choosing the Booking charge details option the operator can generate a list with all the drivers’ details and vehicles that have been used during a precise month to fulfill the bookings.
3. Operators must provide their customer with an accurate fare estimate before the journey starts (unless the fare has been pre-agreed).
After the operator introduces the pick-up and the drop-off point, the number of passengers and luggage and any other significant piece of information for that booking, the application will calculate the price for the booking and that price will be displayed on the screen. In this way the operator will be able to communicate the price to the customer in no time and see if the client agrees with the fare. If the client agrees and decides to proceed with the booking, then the booking will be saved in the system and the client will receive the email with the booking confirmation stating the booking details and of course the price for the ride.
4. Operators must keep records for a minimum of 12 months. This includes records for bookings, complaints and lost property, as well as driver and vehicle records.
With SmartCar you can always have a look at your list of bookings for a specific period by accessing in the back-office app the Bookings list button. Afterwards select the time frame and other specific criteria for your search as they will remain in the system until you decide to delete them. You will also have a clear view over your drivers and vehicles records by using the Drivers module which allows operators to register each new driver, upload its agreement, manage its account. In the drivers account module, you can store all the information regarding your drivers and the vehicles used by them such as: name, address, email, phone number, DBS expire date, driver car insurance expire date, licence, PCO licence, type of vehicle and so on. All the relevant documents can be uploaded for each driver account and managed by the operator.
5. Operators must ensure that passengers are able to speak (verbally) to someone at their operating center if they want to make a complaint or discuss any other matter about their booking. That service must be available at all times during the operator’s hours of business and at all times during a passenger’s journey. The operator should provide details to passengers of how they can speak to someone.
By using a VOIP line integrated with your booking system your operators can take the calls at any time during their schedule hours. Of course that as a private hire operator you will have to ensure that your staff is 24/7 there for your clients and the contact details (email, phone number) of your operational center are clearly stated on your website.
6. Operators must record the main destination of the customer’s journey, before the journey starts.
This option is obvious for any booking as you can’t save a booking in the system without having the destination point. When a journey has multiple stops on the way the main destination is considered the final one where the last passenger descends the car.
7. From 1 October 2016, operators will be required to provide TfL with the relevant National Insurance details when applying for or renewing their licence.
From the back-office app choose the Utilities menu and then click on the Internal Documents option in order to upload all the important documents of your company such as the National Insurance, the operator’s licence and so on. From here you can easily manage each document whenever you need to.