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LICENSING: ‘Heathrow Taxis’ name is not a problem despite being a PHV firm says Mayor of London

The Mayor of London has confirmed that private hire firm ‘Heathrow Taxis’ can continue using the name due to being licensed outside the capital.

London Assembly Member Neil Garratt asked Sadiq Khan whether he could confirm that a private hire operator is not allowed to use the name ’taxi’ in its licensing name. Garratt drew attention to Heathrow Taxi, a private hire operator.

The Mayor of London said: “Section 31 of the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 prohibits the use of certain terms, including “taxi”, “taxis”, “cab” or “cabs”, in advertisements for London licensed private hire operators.

“‘Heathrow Taxi’ is not a London licensed private hire vehicle (PHV) operator. Only PHV operators licensed by Transport for London under the 1998 Act are prohibited from using these terms.”

In August 2022 a leading Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) voice within the industry showed support for the idea to widely SCRAP the words ‘Taxi’ and ‘Cab’ from being displayed on all PHV’s throughout England.

The comments come as the Department for Transport (DfT) released a raft of new recommendations as part of new Best Practice Guidance issued for Taxis and PHVs in England.

The DfT first issued best practice guidance to licensing authorities in 2006 and this was refreshed in 2010. It has now been recognised that much has changed in the taxi and PHV industry since then and the time has come to update the guidance to ensure it reflects new ways of working, new technology and feedback from interested parties.

One of the questions put to trade stakeholders asked whether they agreed with the DfT’s suggested practice regarding the use of the words "taxi" or "cab", as well as similar meaning words, for display on private hire vehicles.

The Licensed Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA) response to the question, published in the latest Private Hire News, was: “Whilst the words taxi or cab remain on PHVs the travelling public will remain confused.”

The association led by its Chairman Steve Wright also extended the support to licensing authorities NOT permitting roof signs of any kind on PHVs.

The LPHCA said: “Private Hire Vehicles are just that Privately Hired Vehicles and the more signage you put on them the more they look like a hireable taxi.“


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