Law Commission Publish Interim Statement on Taxi and Private Hire Services Consultation

 

 

The Law Commission published an interim statement following its consultation relating to Taxi and Private Hire Services. The statement outlines the key decisions the Commission have reached following consultation, but before publishing the full final report and proposed Law Commission draft Bill.

  • The two-tier system, distinguishing between taxis on the one hand, and private hire vehicles on the other, should remain.
  • We no longer recommend abolishing quantity controls.
  • Pedicabs and stretch limousines will be brought clearly within the scope of taxi and private hire regulation, such that they may be controlled as necessary.
  • Our provisional proposals for national safety standards for both taxi and private hire services proved popular and we maintain this recommendation.
  • We also suggested that in respect of taxis, local authorities should retain their ability to impose additional conditions on top of national standards.
  • We continue to recommend that only national standards should apply to private hire services.
  • It would remain the case that taxis would only be allowed to pick up passengers in their own area (unless they had a pre-booking). However, we will recommend freeing up cross-border working for private hire services. Operators would no longer be limited to using drivers and vehicles from their own area; nor would they be restricted to only inviting or accepting bookings within that same licensing area.
  • We support the retention of private hire operator licensing, but recommend a tighter definition that would only cover dispatch functions.
  • We regard the Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers’ powers to set standards to promote accessibility as striking the right balance between local and national control.
  • We recommend introducing a range of tougher powers for licensing officers, including the ability to stop licensed vehicles, impounding and fixed penalty schemes.
  • Magistrates’ courts would continue to hear appeals in respect of licensing decisions.
  • We think it should be easier to challenge local taxi conditions. We therefore recommend a simplified judicial review procedure in the County Court, akin to procedures that exist in relation to some housing challenges.

Read the full report on Licensing Resource.