Commons Questions

Taxis: Licensing

Department for Transport written question – answered on 7th November 2016.

Royston Smith Conservative, Southampton, Itchen

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what powers local authorities possess to effectively regulate private hire vehicles that operate outside of their primary licensing area.

Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Local licensing authorities in England and Wales have a duty to ensure that any person or organisation to whom they grant a PHV operator’s licence is ‘fit and proper’ to hold such a licence. The same duty is required when granting a PHV driver licence. Furthermore, once a licence has been issued, licensing authorities should have systems in place, including links with the police and other licensing authorities, to ensure that drivers and operators continue to be ‘fit and proper’.

All PHV bookings, including those received by a sub-contracting arrangement, must be fulfilled by licensed PHV operators using licensed drivers and vehicles, all of whom have met their local licensing standards. The original operator who takes the booking will retain responsibility for the journey, and both the original operator and the operator who fulfils the booking will be under a duty to keep records of the booking and the relevant enforcement authorities will be able to check those records.

The sharing of information between licensing authorities is encouraged and the licence issuing authority can investigate complaints against a driver regardless of where the driver was working at the time. Local licensing authorities are also able to delegate powers to each other to help deal with issues such as taxis operating as private hire vehicles outside their licence area. For example, in Merseyside five licensing authorities have agreed a concordat allowing each other to enforce against all the vehicles and drivers licensed by the five areas.