The new Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Safeguarding and Road Safety) Bill will be debated by the Commons General Committee on Wednesday after a successful second Parliamentary reading on 10 September.
The new Bill proposes that all taxi and private hire vehicle licensing authorities in England share information of recent adverse licensing history. These include refusals, suspensions or revocations of a licence. It is hoped that forming nationwide data will mitigate the risk that unsuitable people are granted or hold a taxi or private hire vehicle (PHV) driver licence.
The Committee Stage is where detailed examination of the Bill takes place. A two hour window to discuss the Bill has been set aside on Wednesday 4 November between 9.25am–11.25am in Room 14 of the Palace of Westminster.
Government Bills are usually formally timetabled after they have received a second reading.
According to Parliamentary Explanatory Notes, the Bill will set two main provisions. The first will require licensing authorities in England to input into a central database instances where the authority has suspended, revoked, refused to grant or refused to renew a taxi or PHV driver’s licence because of certain safeguarding or road safety concerns relating to that driver.
Other licensing authorities in England must then have regard to that information when considering whether to grant or renew a taxi or PHV driver’s licence.
The second set of provisions in the Bill requires licensing authorities in England to report certain serious safeguarding or road safety concerns about a taxi or PHV driver working in its area to the licensing authority in England, Wales or Scotland that granted a licence to that driver. The Bill then requires licensing authorities in England to take notice of any such reports received and consider whether the relevant taxi or PHV driver should remain licensed.
The MP presenting the new Bill, Darlington’s Peter Gibson, said the Bill was needed to keep up pace with ‘rapid innovation’ and to manage the ‘evolution’ in public transport. From the few details released, the focus will be placed on safeguarding rather than vital legislation around Cross Border Hiring and clearer definitions on plying-for-hire.
Steve McNamara, General Secretary of Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA), commented on the proposed Bill in TAXI Newspaper: “An issue that seems to be coming back to the fore is the need for an update of taxi and PHV regulation. There are a number of private members bills currently before Parliament to try to achieve this, although I am told these are more about getting the issue back on the agenda and are unlikely to make much difference in the short term.”