Parliament to debate deregulation of taxi law
Ministers will come under pressure to oppose regulations on minicabs.
The Government has also dropped one of its more controversial measures within the deregulation bill to allow for anyone to drive an off-duty minicab even if they don’t have a licence. It was stated that the benefit of this would be that then a private hire vehicle could also be used as family car, and therefore the family would save money as it would negate the need for a second car. However, there have been many objections to this measure and some state that it could endanger passengers if the driver has not been correctly assessed and vetted.
Another measure that was proposed was to increase the duration that taxi and PHV drivers can hold their licence before having to renew it to two years. This will then decrease the financial and administrative burden of having to renew their licence, which currently has to be done every year. Again, there have been several objections to this, with others stating that if taxi drivers are responsible for transporting vulnerable people they should be regularly vetted and that the new measure could make it more difficult for councils to carry out checks on drivers. Currently, anyone wishing to become a private hire vehicle operator has to apply for a licence from the council. The council then assesses the applicant’s criminal convictions and can refuse to grant a licence if it does not consider the applicant to be a “fit and proper person”.
Under new regulations, taxi firms will also be able to subcontract bookings to other operators which would mean that taxi drivers will be able to operate out of area and local authorities will not be able to vet them. The Shadow Transport Secretary, Mary Creagh, also opposes this measure, stating that it would cause an increased risk to vulnerable women and girls. According to polling by the Local Government Association (LGA), 80% of women would be concerned if they booked a taxi with one firm and another showed up.
Tradex is one of the UK's leading providers of taxi insurance. Visit our news page for our previous stories about the taxi trade including our recent story about the launch of the new “Black Cab Only” sharing app Maaxi.