The Government plan to start a consultation later this year to strengthen inclusive taxi and private hire best practice guidance for local licensing authorities.
According to the Department of Transport (DfT), the Government are also supportive of an idea that could see all taxi and private hire drivers receive disability awareness training as part of their licensing requirements.
The news comes following recommendations made by a Task and Finish Group on Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing which was established in September 2017.
The Chair of the group, Professor Mohammed Abdel-Haq, submitted his report to the Secretary of State for Transport on 9 July 2018.
In February 2019 the Government responded to the report, but only earlier this month has there been confirmation that the Government ‘will be issuing statutory taxi and private hire standards shortly’.
Lord Kennedy of Southwark asked the Government’s DfT: “What steps they are taking to improve the accessibility of taxis for wheelchair users.”
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Baroness Vere of Norbiton, responded by stating: “The Government is committed to developing an inclusive transport system which disabled people, including wheelchair users, can use easily and confidently. It is vital that taxis and private hire vehicle services play their role in ensuring that wheelchair users have the same access to public transport as everyone else.
“The previous Government’s response to the Task and Finish Group report on taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) licensing, set out its commitment to taking action to ensure that taxi and PHV drivers receive disability awareness training. This remains the Government’s position.
“In the meantime, later in the year we propose to issue for consultation revised best practice guidance for local licensing authorities, which will include strengthened recommendations on supporting an inclusive service.”