The Secretary of State shall grant a a London PHV licence for a vehicle if he is satisfied-
(a) that the vehicle-
(1) is suitable in type, size and design for use as a private hire vehicle-
(2) Is safe, comfortable and in a suitable mechanical condition for that use; and
(3) IS NOT OF SUCH A DESIGN AND APPEARANCE AS WOULD LEAD ANY PERSON TO BELIEVE THAT THE VEHICLE IS A LONDON CAB
Chapter 34 of the 1998 Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act) clearly states:
Take a close look at section (3)
Surely minicabs installed with partitions are clearly contravening the act.
The Public Carriage Office (PCO) has seen fit to license PH vehicles with partitions installed, also vehicles that resemble licensed taxis in appearance. They have been either neglectful. Or, are interpreting the law the way they see fit!
The PCO keep reiterating there are many things that differentiate a licensed taxi from mini-cab. Take for instance the “for hire sign”, or the rear license plate. These and many other things are present on a licensed taxi, but not on a mini-cab. All this tells us is what most people already know; licensed taxis have certain attributes that mini-cabs do not, and there is a very good reason:
The 1998 PH act makes it clear there must be a clear distinction between licensed taxis and private hire vehicles. There is nothing ambiguous about chapter 34 of the 1998 PH act 1, 2, 3 above. However, it does appear that the PCO have been adding amendments to the vehicle inspection manual in an attempt to circumnavigate the current legislation!
See section 13 of the manual to see the amendment that has been created to allow PH vehicles to be modified to come closer to resembling a London taxi, aiding PH to move closer and encroach into an area outside of the original legislation!
Click here to read the amended inspection manual Page removed by PCO