Taxis and private hire vehicles: the road to reform - Transport Committee Contents


Conclusions and recommendations


Introduction

1.  In our view, the case for a thorough overhaul of the legislation relating to taxis and private hire vehicles is irresistible. (Paragraph 14)

2.  We recommend that, instead of referring reform of taxi and PHV legislation to the Law Commission, the Government should engage with the trade, local authorities and users about the objectives of future legislation on taxis and private hire vehicles and commit to overhaul that legislation during the course of this Parliament. Once these objectives are decided, the detailed work to frame legislation and guide it through Parliament should begin. This need not involve primary legislation: we consider that the swifter legislative reform order procedure could be used in this case. (Paragraph 15)

Principles to underpin new legislation

3.  We recommend that, in developing proposals for changing the legislation applying to taxis and PHVs, the Government should commission authoritative research into consumers' opinions. Particular attention should be paid to the views of vulnerable groups, such as disabled people, who are often most reliant on taxis and PHVs. (Paragraph 18)

4.  We recommend that Town Police Clauses Act 1847 and the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 should be replaced by a single Act or legislative reform order, covering both taxis and PHVs. (Paragraph 19)

5.  We recommend that the Government provide clearer guidance to local authorities on how taxis and PHVs should be included in local transport plans. (Paragraph 21)

6.  There are strong arguments in favour of national standards in relation to issues which directly relate to public safety, such as the level of CRB check drivers require, the roadworthiness of vehicles and drivers whose licences have been revoked being licensed shortly afterwards by a different district. We recommend that new legislation in this area should provide for this. (Paragraph 23)

7.  We agree with the Minister that the licensing of taxis and PHVs should remain a local function, not least because of the likely cost and complexity of instituting a national system. (Paragraph 23)

8.  We recommend that any legal barriers to co-operation between local authorities and innovation in organising and funding enforcement activity in relation to taxis and PHVs should be reviewed as part of the process of legislative reform. (Paragraph 25)

9.  We are sympathetic to the argument that offences relating to taxis and PHVs, such as plying for hire, should be dealt with by fixed penalty notices rather than court action and we recommend that the Government should move in this direction when it comes to reform the legislation in this area. (Paragraph 26)

10.  We recommend that new legislation should permit existing licensing districts to be combined where local authorities decide it is best to do so. (Paragraph 28)

Solving the cross-border hire problems

11.  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. (Paragraph 30)

12.  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. (Paragraph 30)

13.  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. (Paragraph 31)

Conclusion

14.  We call on the Government to set out its policy proposals before the end of the year, with a view to holding a consultation exercise in 2012, introducing draft legislation in 2013-14 and taking an Act or legislative reform order through Parliament before the next general election. (Paragraph 33)



 
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Prepared 19 July 2011