Tons of of London minicab drivers could also be working fraudulently after shopping for , the BBC has discovered.
Drivers should sit necessary exams to get a licence. However a BBC undercover investigation has uncovered schools dishonest the required checks.
Transport for London (TfL) stated it will instantly examine at the very least 1,667 purposes in gentle of the proof.
TfL, the licensing authority, stated it was “deeply involved” by the findings.
Taxi reserving corporations resembling Uber have seen the variety of non-public rent automobile licences in use that have been issued within the capital surge by 86% between 2011 and 2018, from 61,200 to 113,645.
Underneath the cab software course of, together with a felony document examine and medical take a look at, drivers should sit a topographical examination and an English take a look at at considered one of eight official TfL testing centres.
Proof of those exams can be additionally accepted through different together with BTecs, that are often sat at non-public schools and centres.
The qualification can be utilized to realize a minicab licence from many councils throughout the UK.
One in every of these schools, Vista Coaching Options in Newham, east London, provided to take the checks for a number of BBC researchers for £500 per BTec.
At a compulsory English and maths evaluation solutions have been learn out to eight candidates taking the BTec fraudulently.
Registers have been falsified earlier than the net BTec examination was taken by the managers on the candidates’ behalf.
The researcher, who had neither attended any lessons nor accomplished an examination, obtained a BTec stage two certificates in Introduction to the Function of the Skilled Taxi and Personal Rent Driver.
One other undercover BBC researcher, who had additionally carried out nothing aside from pay, subsequently obtained a certificates stating he had handed his BTec stage two.
Minicabs licensed by Transport for London
Personal rent autos (PHV) solely licensed drivers
Vista was one of many a number of centres the BBC heard was facilitating fraudulently obtained .
Throughout undercover filming Gerti Qamili, a university supervisor, bragged he had helped “over 300 college students” fraudulently obtain the qualification.
The rip-off had been efficiently profitable licences from TfL for greater than two years, Mr Qamili stated.
He warned the researchers “to not inform anybody that somebody does the take a look at for you”.
Vista Coaching Options has obtained greater than £1.5m since 2018 for apprenticeships.
Ofsted singled out the faculty for “guaranteeing that the coaching meets the wants of the trade” in a monitoring report in December final 12 months.
Caroline Pigeon, deputy chair of London’s Transport Committee, stated: “Passengers are stepping into these autos, and they should know they’re protected.
“To listen to elements of which might be being cast round London, that is not proper, that is actually worrying and TfL have to get a grip on this.”
Helen Chapman, a director at TfL, stated: “It’s deeply regarding to study that some schools or colleges may very well be illegally offering certificates.
“We’ll help the related authorities with any wider investigations into these organisations. We’ll take fast motion towards any driver recognized as fraudulently acquiring a licence.”
TfL stated all new purposes during which the topographical take a look at had been taken at a non-public school somewhat than at considered one of its eight official examination centres had now been placed on maintain.
Vista Coaching Options stated it was shocked by the allegations, which it stated can be a violation of its insurance policies, in addition to a criminal offense and stated it will be launching its personal inner investigation.
Mr Qamili and Abdalla Jamac, who the companied claimed have been chargeable for the BTec stage two taxi course, are not working at Vista.
Each have been contacted by the BBC however refused to remark.
This story will likely be featured on Inside Out on BBC One in London on Monday four November at 19:30 GMT and afterwards on the iPlayer.