The Welsh Government has issued guidance for local authorities to ensure taxi and private hire vehicle operators and drivers meet licensing requirements.
The guidance says: “Despite the importance of this sector to our public transport ambitions, the industry remains governed by laws made when the horse drawn hackneys were a common feature on our streets. Put simply, the law is complicated, outdated and is in need of reform. Taxi and PHV licensing is a devolved matter under the Wales Act 2017. Until Welsh Government introduces new legislation, the current licensing legislation that applies to England and Wales will continue to apply.”
It notes that the primary responsibility for taxis licensing sits with local authorities and local authorities have over many years developed different licencing regimes. “These differing standards and the antiquated legislation have in some areas of Wales caused difficulties in safely managing the trade.”
The guidance says the Welsh Government are developing new legislation and will be engaging with key stakeholders over the next 12 months to ensure this meets the needs of the sector. However it said this new legislation would take some time to develop properly.
“Consequently, Welsh Government has been working with the Welsh Local Government Association and taxis licencing leads from local authorities from across Wales to develop some short term recommendations to help to better manage the sector between now and the new legislation being and place,” it adds.
“These recommendations are a step towards achieving a consistent, more effective approach to taxi and PHV licensing in Wales. The main focus of the recommendations is to promote safety of the travelling public. We want to ensure that all Wales’s taxi and PHV drivers, operators and vehicles are safe and suitable for licensing.”
The guidance said the recommendations had identified areas that could improve public safety consistently across Wales. It calls for all local authorities to adopt them without amendment as a priority.
The guidance covers:
- Welsh Government vision.
- Outline of recommendations.
- Reasons to adopt the recommendations: public safety; consistency; enforcement; accessibility; customer service.
- Driver standards: DBS check; overseas criminal record check; medical checks; Equality Act medical exemption policy; driver conduct; driver dress code; private hire driver conditions; safeguarding training.
- Vehicle standards: DBS check; overseas criminal record check; vehicle closed circuit television cameras; video point of impact systems (VPIS) / dash cams; accessibility.
- Private hire operator standards: DBS check; private hire operator conditions.
- General policy: licence holder self reporting; national register for hackney carriage and private hire licence revocations and refusals (NR3); cross border enforcement; suitability policy; Department for Transport Statutory Taxis and Private Hire vehicle standards.
The guidance can be viewed here.