Michael Stack, Interim Head of Licensing, London Taxi and Private Hire | Transport for London has threatened Cribble in a letter to Pro Transfers Limited. Stack said "It is appropriate to warn you that should you look to introduce this solution, we will consider whether licensing action is required to be taken against you as the operator and also against any driver who was available to you and has accepted a booking made via this proposed channel".
This means that TFL might take action if Cribble goes live on March 11.
However, the threat is idle since according to Stack "We recognise that this is a complex area of the law and any decision will need to be carefully considered taking into consideration the circumstances of each case".
This means that TFL can't find any laws that are broken.
In an attempt to explain what the issues might be, Stack said "a number of statutory requirements may not be met".
This is how TFL says "all statutory requirements may be met".
He then tried to explain three concerns which were heavily caveated and had no reference to any specific legislation.
On the other hand, Stack was able to quote precise paragraph numbers and even quote the law to acknowledge that TFL were duly notified of the Cribble operating model.
It's difficult to imagine why TFL would try to obstruct a new model that offers customers choice and tries to bring private hire drivers a little more pay but the politics of black cab drivers and investors with deep pockets cant be ruled out.
The bottom line is that TFL need to put up or shut up.
Cribble is launching in London on 11 March 2019.
Update 7 March 2019
Stack has finally come up with a specific complaint. He asserts that displaying some driver and vehicle information and allowing the client to make a selection on that basis is "unlawful plying for hire" and refers to a similar case that was lost to Uber.
The argument seems to be that a client can pick an UberX but can't pick a 2015 black Toyota with a friendly name of Fred.