Public Carriage Office

TFL - Public Carriage Office

TFL - Public Carriage Office

The Public Carriage Office (PCO) licenses London’s taxi and private hire services which provide an estimated three million trips in and around central London each week.

According to the PCO there were over 2,100 licensed private hire operators, 30,000 private hire drivers, and 31,000 private hire vehicles registered for exemption from the congestion charge in 2003.

These figures have increased steadily each year and are set to continue to rise. In comparison there are around 25,000 “black taxi” drivers registered at any one time in Greater London each year.

When the PCO licensing was first introduced the Mayor’s ‘Safer Travel at Night’ scheme now known as ‘Cabwise’ featured the launch of the ‘Know What You’re Getting Into?’ poster campaign.

There were also several short films broadcast on London television to raise awareness about the dangers of travelling with illegal minicab touts. The PCO continues today to work in partnership with the Transport Operation Command Unit (TOCU) as well as the Metropolitan Police to combat illegal touting activities. The PCO’s strict rules and vetting procedures have been justified over and over again simply by the fact that since their introduction in April 2003 the “minicab crime” rate has been dramatically reduced.