Updated: Dec 28, 2022
A Glasgow Councillor is leading the way in calls for new rules around taxi and private hire vehicles (PHV) after claiming current regulations are "no longer fit for purpose".
Glasgow City Council’s (GCC) Alex Wilson was backed by other Local Authorities at a recent summit, urging the Scottish Government to review licensing rules and legislation in order to better regulate the growth in apps used to book taxis and private hire cars.
As it stands under legislation last formed in 2009, a physical premises is required for an operator’s booking office licence to communicate from members of the public and take taxi and PHV bookings.
Historically these offices were worked by call handlers taking bookings, but technological changes and the emergence of taxi and minicab apps has seen a shift away from phone calls in recent years.
According to Glasgow Live, Councillor Wilson, said: “The booking office licence came in 2009 at a time when there was widespread concern about the conduct of some companies that ran taxi and private hire car services.
“It has been a very useful measure that’s allowed licensing committees to make sure those in charge are fit and proper people and that their services are being operated appropriately. The booking office licence also ensures there is an overall accountability for the operation of a taxi and private hire service and that the licence holder has a responsibility to provide relevant information if any incident requires to be investigated.
“But times change and the growth of phone app bookings is transforming how taxi and private hire services are delivered in Glasgow and elsewhere. The recent summit in Glasgow agreed licensing legislation must respond to this shift in culture and become future proofed on the surge towards phone app booking systems. Public safety is always the focus of the licensing system and full oversight of licence holder activity is essential for ensuring standards continue to be met.”
WIlson added: “In 2019 pre Covid, I held a summit in Glasgow and invited all the local authorities into the city to try and get uniformity within licensing.
“We all agreed that the licensing act is no longer for purpose and we wish to challenge the Scottish Government. In the new year we are hoping to go through to the Scottish Government and speak to MSP Elena Whitham, the Minister for Community Safety of Scotland.
“This is all in the interest of public health and safety. It will help the licensed trade including taxi drivers.”