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Guernsey taxi sector not fit for purpose, review finds Published Date: 21/09/2022

The States of Guernsey (SoG) has commissioned TAS Partnership Limited to undertake a review of its licensing of Taxi & Private Hire Cars.

The States of Guernsey's last review was in 2000 and it said it "now recognises that the sector has developed and changed in the subsequent 20 years. SoG is aware that customers feel there are insufficient vehicles
available during peak travel periods, and taxi operators report difficulties in engaging enough drivers, due to the economically unattractive nature of the Guernsey trade. The COVID-19 pandemic has further impacted on the taxi trade, which may leave permanent legacies which SoG needs to factor into its future approach."

The report concluded that "The Guernsey taxi and private hire sector as it currently stands is not fit for
purpose – it is failing to provide a decent service that meets passenger needs; it is only marginally sustainable for many drivers; it is disadvantaging the business and tourist economy; it is not attracting the necessary investment towards improvement."

It continued by saying "Evidence of this is widespread and well known" including:

  • Frequent unavailability of taxis, most visibly for late flights arriving at the airport, but also in the evening and late night at the Weighbridge;
  • Difficulties faced by passengers in booking taxis, requiring multiple calls;
  • The shortage of drivers, leading to companies with licensed vehicles but nobody to drive them;
  • The failure to introduce modern technology, as exemplified by the lack of a booking App and visible real-time vehicle location;
  • The relatively high tariff, which is still not enough to stimulate supply night-time supply;
  • The significant absence of sector marketing or promotion and the lack of a pathway to facilitate such activity;
  • The ineffective representation of the sector, which creates difficulties for the regulatory staff when they receive contradictory messages;
  • The minimal provision within the private hire market which operates at rates that are often significantly higher than the taxi tariff;
  • The growth in unlicensed and unlawful Facebook lift-giving to fill the gaps.

"The regulatory framework within which the taxi and private hire sector operates is hindering improvement. The tools available to States of Guernsey (SoG) are currently inadequate to effect the necessary changes" the report continued.

Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez, President of the Committee for the Environment and Infrastructure welcomed the review saying:

"We want to work with customers and drivers, and all other interested parties, to support a move to a model that works better for them and works better for our economy, our society and our environment."

She said they were aware many drivers were working long and anti-social hours and were under pressure because of the shortage of drivers.