London's transport regulator unveiled plans Thursday to overhaul how private hire and ride-hailing services, including Uber, operate in the British capital in the future.
Transport for London (TfL), the city's transport authority, wants to update legislation to better regulate new technologies that have entered the market, it said in a press release. New regulations could include forcing operators to make a stronger commitment to safety, to install clear policies and action plans in case of offences, and to have contingency insurance cover in place.
TfL didn't explicitly mention Uber in its announcement, but the ride-hailing company has severely disrupted the established taxi industry in London. It hit a particularly large bump in the road in September when TfL, declaring it not "fit and proper." Uber is still operating in London while it appeals the decision, and a hearing is due to take place to determine its fate.
Whether or not Uber succeeds, TfL is determined to respond to changes within the wider industry. There has been an uptick in the number of people using private hire services in the city since the arrival of new technologies in the market, it said in the release, and the current laws governing the sector were introduced before these technologies were developed.
The regulator said it's currently considering a number of proposals, including the introduction of an advanced driving test, fleet insurance and signage that would indicate vehicles are private hire cars.
"The private hire market is unrecognisable from when current legislation was introduced," said Helen Chapman, TfL's interim director of licensing, regulation and charging. "The growth of ride-sharing and other advances mean that regulation has to be fit for the next decade and not the last."
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