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Cardiff Council shares taxi trade ‘DISSATISFACTION’ at cross border rules urging Governmental change

Cardiff Council are to work with the local taxi trade and its unions to tackle the ongoing issue of cross border hiring.

During a Council Committee meeting last week one councillor, Huw Thomas, shared the council’s ‘dissatisfaction’ at the rules which he said ‘underlines all trade activity’.

Representatives from Unite Wales Taxi Branch Cardiff Hackney Alliance were said to be delighted that the council finally understood the issues facing the trade after a recent meeting last month.

Labour councillor Huw Thomas said during September’s Council Committee meeting: “I was in a meeting with the trade and the union (Unite Wales) last Friday. Recognising that one of the issues that underlines all the trade activity, particularly in the city right now, is the issue of cross-bordering.

“Certainly from where Cardiff Council is concerned it is an issue we are dissatisfied with as well and we want to work with the taxi trade and the Welsh Government. The answer to that is for Welsh Government to fix.”

A Unite Wales spokesperson said via social media: “Cross bordering is finally acknowledged and on the agenda in Cardiff.

“All Licensing Authorities should be acting on this now. Denying it's a problem is not an option. Unite Wales have been highlighting this for years. Talk to us.”

One of the concerns facing Cardiff’s taxi industry is the over subscription of taxis working in the Welsh capital. There is on average 5.3 taxis and PHVs licensed per 1,000 people living in Cardiff which is one of the highest rates in Wales, but on par with other major UK cities. In neighbouring Newport however the number of taxis and PHVs licensed tops 6.7 per 1,000 people which suggests cross border migration from Newport to Cardiff is pushing numbers past what is required and saturating work levels.

What is cross border hiring?

Cross border hiring is a common term used to describe when a taxi is lawfully used for private hire vehicle (PHV) purposes in a district outside which it has been licensed to operate. This is a problem in many areas because there are disparities in conditions on licences; a prospective driver in one council district may apply to be licensed as a driver in another district because there are lower standards in driver testing, cheaper licence fees or less rigorous/fewer pre-licence checks.

The term ‘cross border’ is also used when a PHV in one district picks up a passenger from another district. This is legal, provided either that the driver, vehicle, and operator are all licensed by the first district; or that the operator sub-contracts the booking to an operator licensed in another council area. This practice has become increasingly commonplace with the growth of app-based operator models.

Notably Transport for London (TfL) has also urged the Government to ‘address problems caused by cross border hiring’ as part of its response to new taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) guidance proposals.

After a long wait and much lobbying, the Government recently closed a 12-week consultation to update vital Taxi and PHV guidance supplied to local authorities to better cope with new digital ways of working following the boom in ride-hailing services.

A raft of new recommendations were made covering pretty much every hot topic impacting the taxi and PHV sector right now, but interestingly cross border hiring rules were not covered.

The Department for Transport (DfT) first issued best practice guidance to licensing authorities in 2006 and this was refreshed in 2010. It has now been recognised that much has changed in the taxi and PHV industry since then and the time has come to update the guidance to ensure it reflects new ways of working, new technology and feedback from interested parties.


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