Taxi and Private Hire Services
On 10 May 2012 we are due to publish a consultation paper,
We are reviewing the existing framework of taxi and private hire vehicle regulation with a view to preparing proposals for consultation.
Taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs) are an important part of local transport. They operate in highly regulated markets where safety and quality control are paramount. Licensing covers key areas such as the quality of services, the fitness of drivers, fare regulation and restrictions on the number of licenses issued.
The current law on taxis and PHVs has been criticised for being complex and outdated.
One problem is the multiplicity of legislation. Taxis, which can “ply for hire” so customers can stop them in the street, have different rules to PHVs which can only be pre-booked. In turn each of the taxi and PHV trades is regulated by multiple statutes. There are also different legal systems along geographical lines distinguishing Plymouth, London and the rest of England and Wales. Whereas some distinctions are clearly justified others are less clearly so.
Some of the legislation, particularly relating to taxis, is archaic. The key statutes date back to Victorian times and refer to “hackney carriages” when taxis were literally horse-drawn vehicles. Case law and guidance are indispensable in interpreting the law. This also makes the legislation less able to reflect more modern technology like the telephone, internet and GPS technology.
The project examines the legal framework relating to taxis and PHVs with a view to making it simpler and more modern. We aim to publish proposals for reform in early May 2012. This will be followed by a three month consultation period where we invite the public to respond to our proposals. We plan to publish a final report with our recommendations and draft bill by late 2013.