Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner brought debate to Parliament demanding quick reform following the publication created by the Department for Transport detailing reform across a taxi and private hire industry.
The task force group report calls for several changes on a number of topics within the industry. These include a national database of licence refusals, calls for national minimum standards for licensing across the country which can be built on locally, and CCTV in every taxi and private hire vehicle. Plus also definitive definitions on plying for hire and cross-border. Mr Zeichner added: “This powerful report calls for legislation to update regulation and licensing of taxi and private hire vehicles, and it calls for it quickly. Professor Mohammed Abdel-Haq, the group chair, underlines this in his introduction, stating that “undue delay would risk public safety“. This again proves the need for more robust standards in licensing, as my Private Member’s Bill would have provided. “This report calls for all the measures that my Bill contained, plus more – I hope that this is the catalyst for action that is so badly needed. I’m glad we got a chance to debate these matters this afternoon in Parliament, and am hopeful that the Minister’s words regarding action “coming shortly“ turn out to be more than just platitudes. We need legislative action – not further consultation or guidance.” Mr Zeichner’s continued “We have had too much delay and prevarication. This is a hugely important industry, especially in areas where there is not 24 hour public transport. It’s a fantastic industry with a proud history, and a very important future. The problem is, there are a few people, sometimes, who are abusing the licensing system which leads to the awful incidents we’ve seen in some parts of the country. We owe it to the industry, and to passengers, to make sure that this is solved. We need to move swiftly, with this report, to act and make decisions.“ Members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis had been pushing to get a debate in Parliament on the working group’s report for some time. Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the LTDA, said “Taxi Minister Nusrat Ghani MP is required to attend and respond to the debate. This is a crucial opportunity for MPs to encourage the Government to respond to the working group’s report, adopt its recommendations and bring forward new legislation, which is long-overdue.”