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Could we soon see the REGULATION of cancelled taxi bookings in Wales?

Updated: Apr 2, 2023

The Welsh Government has recently published a white paper on the Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle (Wales) Bill, which outlines its proposals to modernise the taxi and PHV sector in Wales. One of the main aims of the bill is to improve the customer experience and make services more accessible, reliable and fair.

One of the issues that affects both customers and drivers is cancelled bookings. Cancelled bookings can cause inconvenience, frustration and loss of income for both parties.

The white paper recognises that there are various reasons why customers may cancel a booking, such as changing plans, finding a cheaper or quicker alternative, or being dissatisfied with the service. However, it also acknowledges that some customers may cancel a booking without a valid reason, or at very short notice, leaving the driver out of pocket.

One of the issues facing passengers is the drivers may show themselves as available for hire on one app while having already accepted a booking on another app. The Bill says: 'This becomes a problem if a driver cancels the first booking in favour of a more lucrative journey offered by a different operator on its app.'

This could mean passenger journeys are being delayed and/or cancelled and the issue then affects drivers as passengers look to counter the problem by booking the same journey across multiple apps and using the first vehicle that arrives.

The Welsh Government white paper states: 'Customer complaints about cancelled bookings are now common and we are concerned about the inconvenience, frustration and, in some cases, risk to passenger safety that can arise. However, solutions are not straightforward without significant intervention in the market.

'It may be that over time operators will modify their business models to address the negative consequences. If that does not happen, we may consider taking appropriate action either directed at driver behaviour or that of operators.'

Possible future options include:

  1. Hold operators to account for cancelled bookings. Local authorities grant licences to operators in the expectation that they will fulfil the passenger bookings that they accept.

  2. Limit drivers’ freedom to use more than one app at once. For example, by requiring each vehicle to display the name of one company the driver will be accepting bookings through.

The Welsh Government is seeking views on its proposals for the Taxi and PHV Bill until 1 June 2023.


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