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Southampton's taxis and PHVs to face new card payment and drug testing rules

Updated: Jul 1


Image credit: DALL.E (AI Generated)

Southampton's taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) sectors are set for significant changes with new regulations mandating card payment facilities and introducing random drug screening for drivers.


The city council's licensing committee has approved measures requiring hackney carriages to have operational card machines. This move addresses concerns that some drivers use the absence of card machines to avoid short trips.

Licensing service manager Phil Bates confirmed that a successful trial at the docks prompted this decision, backed by industry requests during forum meetings.


Additionally, customers paying by card will now see identifiable information about the vehicle, driver, or registered company on their bank statements. This ensures transparency and accountability in transactions. However, extending this requirement to private hire vehicles will require further consultation.


In a bid to enhance safety, a new drug testing policy for all taxi drivers will also be implemented. Senior licensing officer Russell Hawkins assured the committee that while there is no significant drug issue among drivers, the policy allows for proactive measures. Testing will be conducted at random roadside checks, during operations, or when specific intelligence arises.

These regulations form part of broader updates to the local authority's taxi rules. Councillors also approved a new style of door stickers for private hire vehicles, featuring a border line and rounded corners. Both old and new sticker designs will be permitted during a transitional period.


The changes, supported by at least 63% of consultation respondents, aim to ensure public safety and maintain a high standard of service within Southampton's taxi and PHV industry.

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