“Government must go much, much further and completely rewrite our antiquated taxi and PHV laws” says
Last week the Department for Transport finally responded to the independent Working Group report which called for a complete overhaul of taxi and private hire regulation to make it fit for the 21st century. No matter how you look at it – what we got from Government was far from an overhaul. Having sat on the Working Group and pressed the Department to publish its delayed response for months, it’s no surprise that the Government simply cherry-picked the few recommendations which it thinks will be the easiest to introduce. To cut a long story short, the main thing the Government committed to do is consult on new and improved licensing guidelines that local authorities must “have regard to”. It also plans to legislate on national minimum licensing standards “when time allows” and establish a national licensing database – but it’s not exactly the “sweeping” reforms we were promised. Of course, this is a step in the right direction and will help tackle the mishmash of licensing requirements across the country and better protect the public from rogue private hire drivers and operators. However, the Government must go much, much further and completely rewrite our antiquated taxi and PHV laws that pre-date the motor car.
Our mission going forward is to ensure that taxis alone retain the right to be hailed on our streets and on the ranks, but the Government has said that this “grey area” is too difficult to define. They have also tried to dodge giving cities like London the power to cap PHV numbers but have confirmed they will review how the ABBA definition of cross border hiring could work in practice.
We now need to see exactly what legislation the Government do decide to bring forward and along with Wes Streeting MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis and all the other members of the APPG we need to look at how we could possibly table amendments to any bills as they progress through parliament. Trade supporter Daniel Zeichner MP is already fighting the trade’s corner with letter to Nusrat Ghani the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Transport.