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Government opens consultation to create new Taxi and PHV Guidance following decade of digital change

Updated: Mar 30, 2022



The Government have opened up a 12-week consultation to update vital Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) guidance supplied to local authorities to better cope with new digital ways of working following the boom in ride-hailing services.


The Department for Transport (DfT) first issued best practice guidance to licensing authorities in 2006 and this was refreshed in 2010.

It is recognised that much has changed in the taxi and PHV industry and the time has come to update the guidance to ensure it reflects new ways of working, new technology and feedback from interested parties.


The DfT are therefore seeking views on new best practice guidance for taxi and PHV licensing authorities and any evidence that supports them.


The consultation will run for 12 weeks from 28 March until 23.45pm on 20 June 2022.


Baroness Vere of Norbiton said in the foreword to the open consultation: “Taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs) play a critical role in keeping our country moving, allowing people to travel safely and easily.

“Whether those taxi and private hire vehicle journeys are for leisure, work or to go to the shops, many people in our communities, particularly those who are disabled and vulnerable, rely upon them.


“The adoption of new technology by the sector and, most significantly, by the public has resulted in a much-changed sector since the Department for Transport (DfT) last refreshed its Taxi and private hire vehicle licensing: best practice in 2010.


“The biggest change is the ease with which passengers are able to engage services – using an app on a mobile phone, for example, was something unimaginable in 2010.


“The increase in services has fuelled increases in the number of drivers in the sector, making a fundamental change to the way the industry works and how these services are delivered.


“A further challenge is the transition to zero emission vehicles to mitigate the impact of travel on air quality and climate change.

“Licensing authority policies should reflect the lead and assistance that government is providing in these areas. It is important they provide the certainty the sector needs so that it is able to plan ahead and invest.


“Zero emission vehicles have far fewer moving parts than their petrol and diesel counterparts. They are easier and cheaper to maintain, and far more efficient to run.

While these benefits will be attractive for the private car owner, they could be transformative for the taxi and private hire vehicle industry.

“A constant message I hear from stakeholders is the need for consistency in standards across licensing authorities.

“I know that in respect of safeguarding issues, which are covered by the government’s Statutory taxi and private hire vehicle standards, there was a great consensus around what those standards should be.

“I am aware that this is not necessarily the case in respect of some of the issues covered in the best practice guidance. I appreciate that with over 270 licensing authorities in England there are going to be significant variations and, because of this, the recommendations are unlikely to be welcomed by all, but I am keen that we try and reach a consensus where possible.


“In developing the consultation on best practice guidance, DfT has carefully considered the views expressed by a wide variety of stakeholders through ongoing engagement with the sector about what will make services even better than they are today.

“A key message is that the government needs to take a position on the important issues in the guidance, and the consultation reflects this.


“The government’s commitment to introduce legislation, when parliamentary time allows, to enable the setting of national minimum licensing standards remains.


“The measures in the final version of the best practice guidance, and the statutory taxi and private hire vehicle standards issued in 2020, are likely to be the starting point when setting any such future legislation.


“The importance of licensing authorities to the safety of the public and the effective functioning of the sector cannot be downplayed, and the intention of the guidance is to help licensing authorities in carrying out this important job.

“This is a crucial consultation on a range of significant issues and I urge you to share your views to help shape the final version of the best practice guidance, we are keen to hear what you have to say.


“We have a shared vision for a safe and thriving sector and it is key that this is at the heart of the policies of licensing authorities that regulate the sector.”


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