The number of alleged sexual offences made by taxi and private hire drivers in London has skyrocketed by more than 80% in just a year, new figures have revealed.

According to Transport for London, a total number of 294 allegations of sexual offences were committed in 2018, including 25 rapes.

This represents a massive 81% increase compared to the previous year when 162 offences were alleged.

The statistics said that 17 drivers were charged, including 15 private hire drivers, a taxi driver and an unlicensed driver, but of the last 12 cases in court, there were only six convictions.

TfL, who licence taxi and private hire drivers in London, published the Met Police and City of London Police data.

The capital's transport body said the rise in allegations was mainly down to a joint guidance issued by the Met at the end of 2017, requiring all Private Hire Operators to report alleged or suspected criminal conduct to the police in an appropriate and timely way.

"This guidance has resulted in more allegations being reported to the police which explains the significant increases in recorded offences for 2018."

There are more than 109,000 licensed private hire drivers, including Uber, and around 22,000 licensed taxi drivers in London, with millions of journeys made every year.

TfL said the rise in allegations was a result of minicab firms being required since the end of 2017 to report all allegations to police in an “appropriate and timely way”. It said the vast majority of journeys passed without incident.

Of the 17 drivers alleged to have committed sexual offences, two were convicted of rape.

This figure includes four historic sexual offences committed by black cab rapist John Worboys, with the attacks dated back to 2000. He received a life sentence for them last month.

Two minicab drivers were convicted of sexual offences other than rape, six were cleared, and five others await trial.

Mandy McGregor, head of transport policing, said: “We would urge anyone who experiences this to report it immediately to TfL and the police so it can be taken seriously and investigated.”