Plans to modernise taxi services across Wales have been outlined in a white paper on the Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle (Wales) Bill published by the Welsh Government today (Thursday 9 March).
The proposals will deliver on a Programme for Government commitment to modernise the taxi and private hire vehicle sector and are intended to make services safer, greener and fairer.
Taxis and PHVs play a vital role in making public transport a more practical choice by providing people with connections for the first and last mile of journeys as well as alternatives when other transport services are either not available or not operating.
However, following extensive engagement with the industry and key stakeholders on issues facing the sector the subject of inconsistent services was a recurring theme. The proposals aim to level the playing field by introducing national minimum standards which will deliver better, safer, more consistent services across Wales.
The proposed standards include mandatory training for drivers to ensure they have the knowledge and skills to deal professionally with the variety of passengers they serve and the situations which may arise.
National minimum standards would also help to tackle ‘cross bordering’. Taxis and private hire vehicles licensed by one local authority are allowed to take a booking for a journey which start or end in another local authority. But when they routinely work in another local authority area it can lead to unfair competition, especially for those licensed to higher standards. The proposals would also give more tools to local authorities to allow enforcement of vehicles and drivers operating out of area.
The Deputy Minister for Climate Change, with a responsibility for Transport, Lee Waters said,
"We know that Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles play a critical role in making public transport a more practical choice for people.
"The sector has changed rapidly in recent years, and quite simply the legislative framework has not kept up with the pace of change.
"Having worked closely with the industry the proposals we are putting forward will help address some of the most pressing issues facing the sector, and will help to deliver a better, safer, and more consistent service across Wales.
"I welcome views from drivers, our social partners, the wider industry and all of those who want to see a thriving, safe and reliable taxi and PHV sector in Wales."
The consultation will close on 1 June 2023