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Task and Finish Group on Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing – Report published

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Task and Finish Group on Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing – Report published 24th September 2018

The Task and Finish Group on Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing, chaired by Professor Mohammed Abdel-Haq, made 34 recommendations to the Government including:

• An urgent review of taxi and PHV legislation 

• The Government should legislate for national minimum standards for taxi and PHV licensing - for drivers, vehicles and operators

• The Government should urgently update its Best Practice Guidance

• The Government should introduce a statutory definition of both ‘plying for hire’ and ‘pre-booked’

• The Government should require companies that act as intermediaries between passengers and taxi drivers to meet the same licensing requirements and obligations as PHV operators

• The Government should legislate to allow local licensing authorities, where a need is proven through a public interest test, to set a cap on the number of taxi and PHVs

• All licensing authorities should use their existing powers to make it a condition of licensing that drivers cooperate with requests from authorised compliance officers in other areas

• Legislation should be brought forward to enable licensing authorities to carry out enforcement and compliance checks and take appropriate action against any taxi or PHV in their area

• Government should legislate that all taxi and PHV journeys should start and/or end within the area for which the driver, vehicle and operator are licensed

• Licensing authorities should ensure that their licensing, administration and enforcement functions are adequately resourced

• Legislation should be introduced by the Government as a matter of urgency to enable Transport for London to regulate the operation of pedicabs in London

• In the interests of passenger safety all licensed vehicles must be fitted with CCTV (visual and audio) subject to strict data protection measures

• The Quality Assurance Framework and Common Law Police Disclosure Provisions must be reviewed to ensure as much relevant information of conduct as well as crimes, by taxi and PHV drivers (and applicants) is disclosed

• Mandatory training requirements for taxi drivers in safeguarding and equality awareness

• Mandatory language requirements for licence holders 

• The low pay and exploitation of some, but not all, drivers is a source of concern. Licensing authorities should take into account any evidence of a person or business flouting employment law, and with it the integrity of the National Living Wage, as part of their test of whether that person or business is "fit and proper" to be a PHV or taxi operator

• Government should urgently review the evidence and case for restricting the number of hours that taxi and PHV drivers

Professor Mohammed Abdel-Haq, said: 

“This report is about public wellbeing. Its genesis and mission were framed by the vision of the then Minister of State at the Department of Transport, the Rt. Hon. John Hayes CBE MP. In commissioning me to lead this vital work, he made clear that in his view the current regulatory regime for the taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) sector is no longer fit for purpose.

“It is clear that the status quo whereby taxi and PHV licensing is inconsistent, ineffective and incompatible with the protection of vulnerable people must not be allowed to continue. Alongside other incidents of criminality, the events in Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford and elsewhere have brought the fundamental flaws in the licensing regime into the sharpest possible focus; these oblige uncompromising determination to make taxis and PHVs safe for all.

“…the onus falls to the Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling, MP and his Ministers, in particular Nusrat Ghani, and Parliamentarians to take the ideas of the report further and to begin to craft the legislation that it will, in some instances, require. In other instances, I trust that Parliament and the Department will lead the cultural change which is necessary to ensure that passengers, workers, operators, and neighbouring authorities are treated fairly. I look forward to the Government’s prompt response to this report in order to maintain the momentum for improvement. Undue delay would risk public safety.”

Source: DfT

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