Law Commission

Taxis and private hire vehicles – regulation

Status: The consultation for this project is due to open in April 2012

We are reviewing the existing framework of taxi and private hire vehicle regulation with a view to preparing proposals for consultation.

Taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs) are an important part of local transport. They operate in highly regulated markets where safety and quality control are paramount. Licensing covers key areas such as the quality of services, the fitness of drivers, fare regulation and restrictions on the number of licenses issued.

The current law on taxis and PHVs has been criticised for being complex and outdated.

One problem is the multiplicity of legislation. Taxis, which can “ply for hire” so customers can stop them in the street, have different rules to PHVs which can only be pre-booked. In turn each of the taxi and PHV trades is regulated by multiple statutes. There are also different legal systems along geographical lines distinguishing Plymouth, London and the rest of England and Wales. Whereas some distinctions are clearly justified others are less clearly so.

Some of the legislation, particularly relating to taxis, is archaic. The key statutes date back to Victorian times and refer to “hackney carriages” when taxis were literally horse-drawn vehicles. Case law and guidance are indispensable in interpreting the law. This also makes the legislation less able to reflect more modern technology like the telephone, internet and GPS technology.

The project

The project examines the legal framework relating to taxis and PHVs with a view to making it simpler and more modern. We aim to publish proposals for reform in April 2012. This will be followed by a three month consultation period where we invite the public to respond to our proposals. We plan to publish a final report with our recommendations and draft bill by late 2013.

TAXIS AND PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLES – REGULATION

2.72 Taxi-cabs (“hackney carriages”) are a highly regulated market, and have been since Victorian times (or earlier – some controls were first imposed under the Stuarts). Private hire vehicles have been regulated since the 1970s. There are distinct legal systems for London, Plymouth and the rest of England and Wales; and different systems for taxi-cabs and private hire vehicles. Outside London,
local authorities are the licensing authorities for both taxi-cabs and private hire vehicles. In London, licensing is now the responsibility of Transport for London.

Licensing authorities regulate the quantity of taxi-cabs and the fares they can charge, and, for both taxi-cabs and private hire vehicles, the quality of services, including the safety of vehicles and the fitness of drivers. Drivers and vehicles must be licensed, and, in respect of private hire vehicles, there must also be a licensed operator.

2.73 The first level of reform would be to reduce the sheer bulk, complexity and inconsistency of the regulatory systems. Central concepts like “plying for hire” have caused considerable problems in the past. There are pointless geographical inconsistencies on such matters as whether a taxi-cab driver needs a separate private hire licence, and whether the vehicle can be used for leisure purposes by
its owner/driver. Secondly, there is a need to modernise to reflect technological change – private hire licensing, for instance, is posited on a geographically fixed operator with premises where bookings are made. Finally, the fundamental features of the regulatory system are in need of reconsideration – the separate systems for taxi-cabs and private hire vehicles, the identity of the licensing authorities, the number and nature of licenses and whether all forms of regulation are still necessary.

2.74 This project engages economic and regulatory theory. It will be fundamentally deregulatory, in the sense that it will seek to question the necessity for the various strands of the current regulatory regime, and seek to reformulate those that are necessary in the light of modern understandings of the most efficient and efficacious forms of regulation.

2.75 The taxi and private hire vehicle market had an annual turnover of above £2.2 billion in 2003. It is likely that a modernised and simplified system of licensing will reduce the costs of the licensing system to both local authorities and market participants themselves. However, the realisation of these potential savings would depend on decisions to be taken on the key regulation reform issues which will constitute the substance of the project.

2.76 We expect the project to take three years, with a consultation period in the second half of 2012.

2.77 The project will require close working with the Welsh Government, which is responsible for local government generally and for transport facilities.

http://www.national-taxi-association.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Carlisle-TOA-response-to-Law-Commission-Paper-203.pdf

Law Commission – Final report

lc347_taxi-and-private-hire-services_summary lc347_taxi-and-private-hire-services   Taxi and Private Hire Services   Status: This project is complete.  The final report and draft Bill were published on 23 May 2014.  We have presented our recommendations to Government and await its response The project reviewed the legal framework relating to taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs) across England and Wales …

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Latest

Law Commission sets out early thinking on reforms for the taxi and private hire trades   09 April 2013 Following an extensive consultation on the regulations governing taxis and mini-cabs (private hire vehicles), the Law Commission has announced, in an interim statement, a change of direction on two key proposals: setting restrictions on local taxi …

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Consultation

Taxi and Private Hire Services Open date: 10 May 2012 Close date: 10 August 2012 We published a consultation paper with our provisional proposals for reform of the legal framework relating to taxis and private hire vehicles on 10 May 2012. These proposals retain the important distinction between taxis – which can “ply for hire” …

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Fares

The National Taxi Association wish to thank Bryan Rowland and his team at the National Private Hire Association for forwarding the following files and letter to the Law commission as evidence and giving us sight and allowing us to publish it. National League table FEBRUARY 2012 Council survey Reg – Re-reg January 2012 Fares Final …

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FOI’s

DfT FoI Response [25.01.2012] No 1 Letter & Annex A DfT FoI Response [25.01.2012] No 2 List of Taxi Meetings since 01.10.2009 DfT FoI Response [25.01.2012] No 3 N1 DfT FoI Response [25.01.2012] No 4 N2 DfT FoI Response [25.01.2012] No 5 N3 DfT FoI Response [25.01.2012] No 6 N4 DfT FoI Response [25.01.2012] No …

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Impact Assessment (as of july 2012)

cp203_taxi-and-private-hire-services_impact-assessment The following article appeared on the internet during July 2012; Taxi Operation in the UK Industry Market Research Report Now Updated by IBISWorld   Fierce competition between taxis and hire cars for passengers has marked the Taxi Operation in the UK industry in the five years through 2012-13. Revenue is forecast to decline an …

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Ireland

report of the taxi hardship panel

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