The Welsh Government has set out plans to take taxi and private hire licensing away from local licensing authorities and hand it over to a single national licensing authority.
This was the proposal to set out in the Welsh Government’s improving public transport white paper. In the white paper, the Welsh Government said “…there is a need for reform to develop a licensing framework that reflects current working practices.”
Examples cited in the white paper causing the Welsh Government concern with the current licensing arrangements in Wales included:
- the variation in taxi and PHV standards between the twenty two local authorities in Wales;
- the inability to take enforcement action against vehicles which are operating “out-of-area”; and
- the difficulty in sharing relevant safeguarding information.
As a solution to this, the Welsh Government said: “…the existing taxi and PHV licensing functions of the twenty two Welsh local authorities should be redirected to a single national licensing authority.” The single national licensing authority will be a Joint Transport Authority.
The Welsh Government is of the view that “skills and knowledge available within local authorities to effectively discharge their transport functions successfully is diminishing” and that this “would be detrimental to achieving the Welsh Government’s ambitions for public transport provision.”
This proposal, amongst others, is subject to consultation before a final decision is made however the Welsh Government has confirmed that it is strongly in favour of this proposal.