3 Solving the cross-border hire problems|
29. We have concluded that taxis and PHVs should
continue to be licensed at a local level, although with national
standards relating to matters directly affecting public safety.
In addition, local authorities should integrate planning on taxi
and PHV issuessuch as where to site ranks and whether or
not to restrict the numbers of licences issuedinto their
local transport planning. In this context it is likely to be undesirable
for cars or drivers licensed in one district to operate principally
in another area. This could undermine local transport plans and
be problematic for users if, for example, cars principally designed
for rural or long-distance travel were mostly undertaking urban
journeys. This is not to suggest that taxis and PHVs must stay
exclusively within their licensing districts: consumers often
request cross-border journeys and no witness suggested that they
should be prohibited.
However, local authorities which wish to prevent taxis and PHVs
from other districts operating predominantly in their areas should
have the option of doing so.
30. We recommend that it should be permissible
for taxi and PHV licences to include a condition that the vehicle
must principally be operated in the licensing district. A similar
provision should also be permitted in relation to driver licences.
This would enable licensing authorities to take action against
drivers or operators who principally operate out-of-town. In
addition, new legislation should permit local authorities to issue
fixed penalty notices to out-of-town drivers where there is evidence,
for example, that they have worked, or sought to work, for a specified
period of time in that district. Local authorities should also
be enabled to prosecute operators in other districts which are
routinely sending cars to work in their area.
31. Local authorities have different views on the
seriousness of cross-border hire issues. We expect that some will
decide not to use these powers or will take a light touch approach
to enforcement. In some areas, however, it is clear that local
authorities are strongly of the view that local control of taxis
and PHVs is essential and the powers we have suggested are likely
to be welcomed. If these powers are introduced as we suggest they
should be accompanied by guidance from the Department about their
use. In our view it is essential that local authorities justify
their approach to the use of these controls in local transport
plans, alert drivers and operators in neighbouring districts to
their intention to use such powers; and provide adequate warnings
to drivers and operators before issuing fixed penalty notices
or initiating prosecutions.
67 For example Qq 21, 131 and Ev 81 paragraph 2.4. Back