top of page

Taxi and PHV engagement concluded Government WOULD NOT tackle ‘cross-border’, says DfT Minister

Engagement with the taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) sector concluded Government WOULD NOT take forward plans to tackle out-of-area cross-border working, says transport minister.

Cross-border hiring rules remain one of the most contentious topics within the taxi and PHV industry. In a recent handbook published by the Local Government Association (LGA) it suggests the issues surrounding the rules will only be resolved when the Government brings in changes to legislation and provides councils powers to enforce against drivers and vehicles operating in their areas.

“Cross-border hiring” as a term and a concept is not one found in law according to licensing experts. The term is generally used in the trade to describe a practice where taxis or private hire vehicles that are licensed by one licensing authority work wholly or predominantly in another licensing authority area.

There have been longstanding calls for reform since 2008 when a case based in Newcastle sparked national debate. Concerns are largely based around the local authorities' ability to enforce drivers and, even operators, licensed outside of their authority.

Rachael Maskell, Labour MP for York Central, put forward several questions to the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps on the topic. Maskell asked whether assessments had been made to look at the effect of advance booking apps from outside of a licensing area operating within that area. The Labour MP also directly asked whether he would make it a condition for private hire drivers to operate only within areas for which they have the necessary licence, and passed the local knowledge, safeguarding, safety and car environmental standards.

DfT Minister and Copeland MP, Trudy Harrison, responded to the written questions saying: “The Task and Finish Group on taxi and Private Hire Vehicles licensing set up in 2017 considered the impact of new technology on the sector including in respect of out-of-area working. As set out in the Report by the Chair of the Group, the recommendation to address out-of-area working was one of the areas on which it was not possible to reach a consensus. The Government, in its 2019 response, agreed to consider the recommendation further.

“The Department for Transport has considered in detail options to restrict out-of-area working by taxis and private hire vehicles in England.

“Engagement with the sector and regulators evidenced that there are a wide range of differing views and a lack of agreement on how the negative aspects caused by out-of-area working might be best addressed; many approaches having detrimental impacts for drivers, businesses, and ultimately passengers, along with congestion and air quality.

“The safety of passengers, including women and girls, was one of the issues considered, and there were particular concerns that restrictions on the availability of taxis and private hire vehicles may impact adversely on passenger safety by increasing the use of unlicensed, unvetted and uninsured drivers and vehicles. Following this engagement with the sector, the Government concluded that it would not, at this time, take forward out-of-area restrictions.

“Everyone has the right to feel safe when travelling and using public spaces. The Department for Transport is working closely with Home Office on the Government’s cross-departmental strategy to address Violence Against Women and Girls. The Department’s first Women’s Safety Champions are engaging with campaign groups, industry and Government to understand areas for improvement across the UK’s transport network. They will shortly produce independent recommendations for the Department and wider transport network on what best practice should be adopted to improve safety of the transport network for women and girls.”


Subscribe to our newsletter. Receive all the latest news

Thanks for subscribing!

thumbnail_phonto (1).jpg
bottom of page