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TAXI BEST PRACTICES: What has caught the attention of the taxi and PHV industry

After a long wait and much lobbying, the Government recently opened up a 12-week consultation to update vital Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) guidance supplied to local authorities to better cope with new digital ways of working following the boom in ride-hailing services.

A raft of new recommendations have been made, covering pretty much every hot topic impacting the taxi and PHV sector right now, ranging from enhanced driving standard requirements to better signage on taxis.

The Department for Transport (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.

The consultation will run for 12 weeks from 28 March until 23.45pm on 20 June 2022.

What’s caught the attention of the industry?

Right now, both the taxi and PHV sectors are formulating their responses to the DfT. There has however been some inklings as to what will be intensely discussed and potentially become the biggest changes as a result of the review.

Steve Wright, Licensed Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA) Chairman, said in Private Hire News: “This best practice consultation is an opportunity to re-set some of the poorer policies with the many better policies that are out there which actually work for the trade, the licensing authority and most importantly, the travelling public.

“We are pleased that the questionable policies some have adopted on tinted windows, age limits, signage, inappropriate testing and training can now be evaluated by government via this consultation.

“With the industry in crisis following the pandemic, considerable air quality requirements and catastrophic driver shortages, regulation needs to be fit for purpose. Training and testing also needs to be appropriate, as does some of the unacceptable penalty points systems, which go way beyond sensible safety needs.”

Hackney Carriage representatives will most likely focus heavily on the vehicle licensing points around the identification of both taxis and PHV and the usage of tinted windows.

Driver proficiency and training will also be scrutinised and seen as an opportunity to bring in enhanced driving tests, disability awareness training and more.

What are the Government looking to achieve?

Whilst the DfT want to hear from stakeholders within the English taxi and PHV industry to formulate all aspects of latest Best Practice, the Government has its eyes on two key areas - engagement of services and Zero Emission Capable (ZEC) fleets.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton said within the foreword to the open consultation: “The biggest change is the ease with which passengers are able to engage services – using an app on a mobile phone, for example, was something unimaginable in 2010.

“The increase in services has fuelled increases in the number of drivers in the sector, making a fundamental change to the way the industry works and how these services are delivered.

“A further challenge is the transition to zero emission vehicles to mitigate the impact of travel on air quality and climate change.

“Licensing authority policies should reflect the lead and assistance that government is providing in these areas. It is important they provide the certainty the sector needs so that it is able to plan ahead and invest.

“Zero emission vehicles have far fewer moving parts than their petrol and diesel counterparts. They are easier and cheaper to maintain, and far more efficient to run.

“While these benefits will be attractive for the private car owner, they could be transformative for the taxi and private hire vehicle industry.”


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