Updated: Feb 17, 2022
The Taxi and Private Hire sector must address the chronic shortage of drivers with their own recruitment and retention campaigns, says Transport Minister.
Peak-time demand for taxi and private hire services is likely to return as the final Omicron restrictions are lifted. However, a shortage of drivers in many regions, and in some cases vehicles, has meant a significant proportion of that demand is not being met.
In a recent study, Private Hire and Taxi operators who are signed up to Autocab’s iGo Network have seen driver numbers drop by as much as 25%.
Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, asked the Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps, what steps the Government is taking to support taxi companies who have driver shortages.
Trudy Harrison, Department for Transport (DfT) Minister, responded: “The Government is responsible for setting the regulatory structure within which local licensing authorities in England license the taxi and private hire vehicle trades. The primary function of licensing authorities is to ensure taxi and private hire vehicle services are safe; as regulators they should also consider the regulatory burden on the sector.
“The Government is aware of concerns over driver shortages in the sector and that some requirements set by licensing authorities to obtain a licence are perceived to be acting as a barrier to entry.
“The Government has already set out the high standards it expects the sector to meet to safeguard passengers. The Government supports the proportionate regulation of the sector and will shortly be consulting on guidance to licensing authorities on how they might best achieve that while maintaining high standards in safety and accessibility.
“The majority of the sector is self-employed where drivers work with a particular company it is for that company to decide how best to recruit and retain drivers.”