The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department for Transport (DfT), has reminded members of parliament that the Government does recognise the vital role that safe public transport, including taxi and private hire vehicles, plays in getting people to and from work at all times of the day and night.
Louise Haigh, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, asked what assessment the DfT has made of the availability and affordability of the public and "other forms of transport on the safety of workers in the nighttime economy?"
In response, Harrison highlighted the Government's national bus strategy which was supported through the Bus Service Operators' Grant, worth £259 million.
The funding allowed bus services to keep "fares down" claimed Harrison.
Speaking on the vital role taxis and private hire vehicles play, she said they support "the nighttime economy when mass transit may not be so readily available. As of 31 March 2021, there were 251,100 licensed taxis and private hire vehicles".
On the topic of prices, Harrison added: "Local authorities have the power to set taxi fares for journeys within their area, and most authorities do so. Local authorities have no power to set fares for private hire vehicles. Fares for private hire vehicles, which must be pre-booked with a licensed operator, are set by the operator."
Nighttime economy, particularly from the hospitality industry, has suffered terribly from a series of lockdowns and restrictions put in place due to the pandemic. A knock-on effect hit the taxi and private hire industry heavily.
Many drivers around the UK left the trade for a period of time, some are yet to return. This has caused a shortage of available drivers, raising concerns about public safety.
To encourage more drivers to join private hire platforms, companies such as Uber and Bolt have raised prices.
A consultation is currently ongoing by Transport for London (TfL) in relation to a possible fare increase for the capital's hackney carriage taxi drivers.