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Ken Livingstone, mayor of London, today announced his plans to improve London's taxi service. ...
Ken Livingstone, mayor of London, today announced his plans to improve London's taxi service.

After consulting 35 organisations, including more than a dozen taxi associations, the mayor will be writing to all London's taxi drivers setting out his plans. The reforms will result in an improved service and increased safety for passengers, particularly at night and at the weekend.

They include:

- Giving drivers better incentives to work at night and weekends, with night rates from 8pm-6am increasing by up to 60 per cent, weekend days by 25 per cent.

- Increasing the the distance a driver must take a fare-paying passenger if asked from six to 12 miles.

- Doubling the number of enforcement officers against private hire touts from 20 to 40. Working with the Metropolitan Police to crack down on illegal minicab touts.

- Retaining the high standard of the famous 'Knowledge', but enabling candidates to progress at the best pace for them thus improving the supply of taxi drivers. Also increasing the proportion of women, black and Asian taxi drivers.

-£3m of extra cash for Taxicard, the scheme which benefits disabled people.

- Other reforms include - work to reduce taxi emissions, a review of taxi design regulations, allowing drivers to fit CCTV in their cabs, and regular research into supply and demand for taxis and private hire vehicles and customer satisfaction to help improve the service.

Mr Livingstone said: 'This package means that drivers will be properly rewarded for working at night. It also means passengers will be able to find a taxi when they need it which will take them where they want to go in London.'

The changes go before the Transport for London board, chaired by the mayor, next month for approval and endorsement. The fare changes are due to be introduced this November.

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