WiredGov Newswire (news from other organisations)
LGA: Taxi reforms urgently needed as licensed driver numbers hit record high
Outdated and flawed taxi laws need urgently reforming as new figures show the number of licensed drivers and vehicles have hit a record high, the Local Government Association has said
The LGA is calling on the Government to strengthen taxi and private hire legislation - some of which dates back to 1847 and horse-drawn hackney carriages - to improve passenger safety in light of the proliferation of app-based taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) companies and increased out-of-area working.
It comes as the latest figures show:
- The total number of licensed taxi and PHVs in England increased to 291,800 in 2019, an increase of 58 per cent on the 184,500 licensed vehicles in 2005 when comparable records were first collected.
- These figures have largely been driven by a surge in licensed PHVs, which have risen to 221,200 in 2019, a staggering increase of 83 per cent on the 120,400 PHVs in 2005.
- The number of people licensed to drive taxis and PHVs also increased substantially over the same period, rising by 50 per cent, from 242,000 people to 362,000.
The LGA is warning that due to outdated legislation and new technology, councils cannot take enforcement action against the rising numbers of unlicensed drivers operating in their area.
Councils argue that revamped taxi laws could make enforcement easier through introducing a common set of licensing standards and be updated to reflect new technology which would help reduce the risk of child sexual exploitation, improve passenger safety, and create a level playing field for drivers by tackling out-of-area working.
The LGA is also calling for national minimum licensing standards for drivers of taxis and PHVs, and a mandatory national database of all licensed taxi and PHV drivers.
In order to strengthen licensing processes, the LGA last year launched its own national register of taxi and PHV licences which have been refused or revoked so councils can check new applicants against the database and update it with their own information.
But whilst updated statutory guidance for councils around taxi licensing is a positive step, it says ultimately the best way to strengthen safeguarding measures and ensure a level playing field for all drivers is for government to update taxi laws.
Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said:
“Updating outdated and flawed taxi licensing laws has never been more urgent to provide safer journeys for the public and fairer business for drivers.
“The Government must stick to the commitment that was made earlier this year to reform taxi legislation.
“Reforms are needed to reflect the increasing use of mobile phone apps to book taxis and private hire vehicles and to give councils national enforcement powers so they can take action against any vehicles operating in their areas irrespective of where they are licensed.
“Safeguarding legislation needs to be strengthened following well-documented child exploitation cases where taxi and PHV drivers have abused the trust placed in them.
“Undue delay risks public safety.”
Notes to editors
- Taxi and private hire vehicle legislation is primarily concentrated in the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 and the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.
- Government’s response to the Task and Finish Group on taxi and private hire vehicle licensing report in February announced plans for new legislation.
- Taxi and private hire vehicle statistics, England 2019 show that the total number of licensed vehicles increased by 2.5 per cent (7,200 vehicles) between 2018 and 2019 and that PHV licences increased by 4.4 per cent (9,732 vehicles) over the same period.
- In July 2018, the LGA launched a national register of taxi and PHV licence refusals and revocations - www.local.gov.uk/topics/licences-regulations-and-trading-standards/new-national-register-taxi-and-private-hire
- LGA handbook for councillors to provide best practice in taxi licensing.
Latest News from
WiredGov Newswire (news from other organisations)
CBI responds to the latest U.S tariff decisions on British goods13/08/2020 16:33:00
CBI has responded to the latest U.S tariff decisions on British goods.
Keeping people in work is the best way to help economy recover13/08/2020 14:33:00
Wales TUC General Secretary Shavanah Taj yesterday commented on the GDP figures.
Trade Union Education in Lancashire13/08/2020 14:25:00
Following the announcement by Blackburn College that they planned to make redundancies and close the trade union education centre at the college, we have been working hard with UCU to protect jobs and reps training in Lancashire.
2 in 5 schools around the world lacked basic handwashing facilities prior to Coronavirus pandemic — UNICEF, WHO13/08/2020 13:40:00
As schools worldwide struggle with reopening, the latest data from the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) reveals that 43 per cent of schools around the world lacked access to basic handwashing with soap and water in 2019 – a key condition for schools to be able to operate safely in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic.
CIPD - Reduced hiring rather than increased firing is cause of jobs slowdown to date13/08/2020 12:40:00
The CIPD responds to the latest labour market figures from the Office for National Statistics
LGA responds to NHS Confederation report on mental health services13/08/2020 11:40:00
Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, responded to an NHS Confederation report on mental health services facing rising demand due to coronavirus
NHS Confederation - Mental health services face ‘rising tide’ in demand due to coronavirus13/08/2020 10:40:00
People requiring support and treatment for their mental health are at risk of not getting the care they need and their conditions deteriorating due to increased demand brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, and constraints in what services can deliver.
LGA responds to Salvation Army report on homelessness13/08/2020 09:40:00
Cllr David Renard, Local Government Association housing spokesperson, responded to a report by the Salvation Army calling for homelessness services to be properly funded in this Autumn’s Comprehensive Spending Review