Professionalism Through Knowledge

The Department for Transport has now published the long awaited report of The Task and Finish Group on Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing.

25/09/2018

The Department for Transport has now published the long awaited report of The Task and Finish Group on Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing.

TAXI and PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE LICENSING 

Recommendations for a Safer and More Robust System

 

The Department for Transport has now published the long awaited report of The Task and Finish Group on Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing. 34 Recommendations have been made in the report which covers a number of areas of interest- to licensing and enforcement officers. Many of the recommendations reflect the current concerns of officers, some seem to be merely aspirational. The content of the report seems to reflect the wide ranging makeup of the reporting committee.

Professor Mohammed Abdel-Haq said:

This report is about public wellbeing. Its genesis and mission were framed by the vision of the then Minister of State at the Department of Transport, the Rt. Hon. John Hayes CBE MP. In commissioning me to lead this vital work, he made clear that in his view the current regulatory regime for the taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) sector is no longer fit for purpose.

“….to chart a future which ensured public safety for all, a working environment for those in the trade which guaranteed fair working conditions and whilst maintaining a competitive, dynamic market, preserve the character, integrity and aesthetics of this time-honoured trade.

…Alongside other incidents of criminality, the events in Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford and elsewhere have brought the fundamental flaws in the licensing regime into the sharpest possible focus; these oblige uncompromising determination to make taxis and PHVs safe for all.

I have drawn on the insight of those who know best, and worked with a first-class group of colleagues. It is their sharp minds, commitment, professionalism and cool heads that have enabled the critical thinking and discussions that underpin my recommendations. Members of the Group have strongly held, sometimes polar opposite opinions and, while this means that it has not always been possible to reach a consensus, I am of no doubt that all have the best interests of passengers and the trade foremost in their thoughts. I am grateful to them all.

…..The report aims to produce a holistic ecosystem and solution to the problems it was devised to address and, as a result, to set out a comprehensive platform for the changes necessary to protect and promote the public interests in the common good.

Licensing conditions should be demanding, arguably to a greater degree than at present, but should not, in effect, prohibit market entry for new businesses.

…..In other instances, I trust that Parliament and the Department will lead the cultural change which is necessary to ensure that passengers, workers, operators, and neighbouring authorities are treated fairly. I look forward to the Government’s prompt response to this report in order to maintain the momentum for improvement. Undue delay would risk public safety.

The recommendations include:

  • Legislation should be urgently reviewed to effectively regulate the current two tier system.

  • National minimum standards for taxi and PHV licensing - for drivers, vehicles and operators

  • Joint working between smaller authorities should become the norm

  • Urgent update for DfT Best Practice Guidance

  • A statutory definition of both ‘plying for hire’ and ‘pre-booked’

  • Transport Intermediaries between passengers and taxi drivers should meet the same licensing requirements and obligations as PHV operators

  • Where a need is proven through a public interest test, Licensing authorities should be able to to set a cap on the number of taxi and PHVs

  • All licensing authorities should use their existing powers to make it a condition of licensing that drivers cooperate with requests from authorised compliance officers in other areas

  • Licensing authorities should be able to carry out enforcement and compliance checks and take appropriate action against any taxi or PHV in their area

  • All taxi and PHV journeys should start and/or end within the area for which the driver, vehicle and operator are licensed. (exemptions for chauffeur

  • Licensing authorities should ensure that their licensing, administration and enforcement functions are adequately resourced

  • Legislation for TfL to regulate the operation of pedicabs in London

  • Mandatory CCTV for all licensed vehicles

  • Relevant information of conduct as well as crimes, by taxi and PHV drivers (and applicants) to be disclosed by Police.

  • Mandatory training requirements for taxi drivers in safeguarding and equality awareness

  • Mandatory language requirements for licence holders 

  • Licensing authorities should take into account any evidence of a person or business flouting employment law and the National Living Wage, as part of their test of whether that person or business is "fit and proper" to be a PHV or taxi operator

  • Government should urgently review the evidence and case for restricting the number of hours that taxi and PHV drivers

There are a number of interesting recommendations contained within the report. It will be interesting to see how many survive scrutiny. You can view the full report and Professor Abdel-Haq’s comments here. taxi-and-private-hire-vehicle-licensing-recommendations-for-a-safer-and-more-robust-system

 

 

2018

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