One Month Extension to Law Commission Consultation

The Law Commission have announced a ONE MONTH extension in the time allowed for consultation.

It is not yet on the Law Commission website, as the entire project team are attending the Trade Show in Coventry.

The regional secretary of number 8 region NTA, spoke to the Head of the Team, Richard Percival, to be assured that the final date for responses is now 10th September 2012. The Department for Transport who instigated the proceedings have agreed to the change.

You are strongly encouraged to complete a response within the new time frame.

Wayne Casey

Administration Officer

National Taxi Association.

 

News release: 1 June 2012

Deadline extended on Taxis and Private Hire Services consultation

The Law Commission is extending the deadline for its public consultation on the regulation of taxis and private hire vehicles. Responding to requests from members of the taxi and private hire trades, the Commission is extending its consultation by an extra month until 10 September 2012.

Frances Patterson QC, the Law Commissioner leading on the project, said:

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and we want all those involved to feel they have had a fair chance to be heard.

“We recognise that people in the taxi and private hire trades out of London face practical difficulties in being able to get together to formulate responses. We also know that many of the London-based taxi drivers and private hire operators, as well as licensing authorities, are facing a particular challenge this summer because of the extra work that will come with the Olympics.

“As a result we thought it only right to give a longer time within which people can submit their responses.”

The purpose of the Commission’s review is to simplify, clarify and modernise the law governing taxis and private hire vehicles.

The consultation is now open until 10 September 2012. The Commission’s provisional proposals and consultation questions are outlined in the paper, “Reforming the law of taxi and private hire services”, which is available on www.lawcom.gov.uk.

 

Law Commission; Reforming the Law of Taxi and Private Hire Services

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” on the street or a cab rank – and private hire vehicles which can only be pre-booked.

But all vehicles would be subject to national minimum safety standards and, for private hire vehicles, these would replace more than 340 sets of local regulations. This will reduce the burden on business because, once appropriately licensed, a private hire firm could work freely across the country, without geographical restrictions. This would contribute to widening consumer choice and to making services cheaper and more competitive.

We also make suggestions covering a wide range of issues, including improving provision for persons with disabilities, quantity restrictions and enforcement.

This consultation relates to our Taxi and Private Hire Services project.

Reference number: LCCP203

Reforming the law of taxi and private hire services – A Summary

REFORMING THE LAW OF TAXI AND PRIVATE HIRE – A Consultation paper

cp203_taxi-and-private-hire-services_impact-assessment

Plan to put age limit on Northampton’s cabs thrown out

AN AGE limit will not be placed on private hire cabs in Northampton after officials said the move would “place a severe financial burden” on drivers.

Calls to introduce age limits on cabs working in the town were made in June last year after one councillor claimed half the town’s cabs ‘were not fit to transport chickens’.

But after a lengthy investigation into the issue, the authority’s licensing committee last night agreed no age limit should be brought in.

They made their decision after hearing arguments from a number of drivers that it was the number of times a vehicle was serviced a year, rather than its age, which was important.

Councillor Roger Conroy (Lib Dem, Kings Heath) said: “Everybody agrees that safety is the main concern, but we’ve also got to take on board that if we do start to change things it’s going to impact very heavily on many of the private hire drivers.

“They’ll become unemployed if we start insisting that they have to buy new cars and that won’t do Northampton’s economy any good at all.”

Some drivers of London-style Hackney Carriage vehicles argued for age limits on their vehicles to remain however.

The chairman of the Northampton Hackney Drivers’ Association, Jonathan Hills, told councillors that scrapping current legislation which meant Hackney Carriages would not be licensed for the first time if they were above three years old, would lead to Northampton being flooded with older vehicles.

He said: “We’d see a large increase in the number of Hackney Carriages in Northampton and standards would drop as older vehicles were introduced.

“The town centre is already saturated with Hackney Carriages and any more would just add to the chaos.”

The council committee decided to delay making a decision on any change to rules for Hackney Carriage vehicles.

It will also delay plans to introduce fines for drivers whose cars do not meet standards set by the council.

The fines will not be introduced until further consultation has been carried out with drivers. That process is expected to take about six months for the council to complete.

source: http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/

Transport for London misses deadline to award £62.7m contract

Transport for London (TfL) has awarded an outsourcing contract worth £62.7 million to NSL Limited, but missed its deadline to make a decision by five months.

In a contract notice that was issued in November 2010, TfL said that it was looking to replace an “outdated” in-house IT operation that supports its Taxi and Private Hire Directorate (TPH).

TPH manages 160,000 licensee records of taxis, taxi-drivers, private hire operators and private hire vehicles. It carries out field work activities to inspect the records of over 2,000 operators, as well as delivers on-street compliance activities for drivers and vehicles.

The original tender document read: “Current operations are based largely on the use of hard-copy records, which severely limits operational efficiency.”

NSL Limited will now deliver an end-to-end IT system to support these services for 10 years.

However, TfL had been planning to award the contract in October 2011, some 11 months after the original notice was issued. This was delayed and a decision was only reached in mid-February 2012, according to a recent awards notice.

Computerworld UK asked TfL what had caused the hold up and how this would impact the project, but was told by a spokesperson that it was a “relatively short delay” and would not impact the “overall project deliverables”. TfL did not provide any details about what caused the five month delay.

TfL also recently announced details of an extended outsourcing agreement with supplier CSC, which, under the £21 million contract, will provide service desk and desktop support services.

Around 13,000 IT users at TfL will be supported by the contract and it will also cover real-time passenger information for some London Underground stations.

http://www.cio.co.uk/news/

Halton taxi lifespans extended for two years as banks refuse to lend

TAXIS reaching their age limit have had their lifespan extended due to concerns over banks refusing to lend to borough cab firms.

The Weekly News reported last week how the council’s special regulatory committee was due to meet on Tuesday to consider proposals to change the age limit placed on vehicles used by Halton taxi firms.

At present saloon and estate cars can be no older than eight years old, wheelchair-compliant multi-purpose vehicles can be no older than 12, while purpose-built taxis can be no older than 16 years old.

But at the meeting it was decided to begin a consultation over whether or not to change the age limits permanently.

It was also decided to enter a moratorium on taxi age limits for two years, meaning that Hackney carriage or private hire cabs which were approaching the end of their permitted lifespan – and were already registered with the council – as of March 19 would be given an extra two years, extending the number of years they could be used in Halton to 10, 14 and 18 years respectively. The extension is subject to conditions including:

Affected cabs will be subject to three roadworthiness tests a year, as opposed to the two tests necessary for any vehicle over three years old.

The agreement becomes void if the vehicle is transferred to another company.

Council legal expert John Tully told the Weekly News the decision was made to ease the burden on borough taxi firms and that the moratorium was put in place to help them through a ‘difficult time’.

He said: “Some proprietors were saying they were having difficulty with lending institutions because they wouldn’t lend them money.”

source:

http://www.runcornandwidnesweeklynews.co.uk/

Greater share of clubs levy urged

Councils have called to be allowed to keep a greater share of a proposed new levy on late-opening bars and nightclubs.

Town hall leaders warned that a planned 30% cap on their entitlement from the proceeds of the Late Night Levy risked leaving local taxpayers out of pocket.

The Home Office has been consulting on proposals to give licensing authorities in England and Wales the ability to charge establishments that open after midnight so that they contribute to the costs of keeping their areas safe and clean.

Councils will only be allowed to retain up to 30% of the revenue from the levy, however, to pay for the provision of services like taxi marshals, late night wardens and street cleaning.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents council leaders, called for more local autonomy in the arrangements for sharing the proceeds.

Mehboob Khan, chair of the LGA’s safer and stronger communities board, said: “It’s entirely appropriate that bars and clubs should contribute towards the cost of cleaning up the inevitably messy aftermath of a big night out.

“The introduction of a Late Night Levy is a definite step in the right direction, but the current plans for how the money can be used risks taxpayers still being left to pick up the bill because it fails to recognise the significant contribution made by local authorities.

“The best way to tackle rowdy alcohol-fuelled trouble is to minimise the chances of it happening in the first place. Councils have led the way at this, whether it be employing taxi marshals to keep things in check as revellers make their way home in the early hours, or redesigning high streets to remove pressure points which get too crowded at closing time at the local nightclub.

“This sort of innovation could be stifled if Government persists with placing too many restrictions on how money should be spent.”

The consultation closes on Tuesday.

source: http://www.staffordshirenewsletter.co.uk/News/

Changes to be introduced to improve safety of taxi cabs

A council is introducing changes to the way it licences taxis to help improve vehicle safety.

North West Leicestershire District Council wants to reduce the age of hackney carriages and private hire vehicles in the district.

A set of recommendations have been approved by the council’s licensing committee.

It means from October 1, the maximum age, with exceptions, for any vehicle to be allowed to renew a licence will be eight years.

From April 1, next year, that will fall to seven years, then down to six the following year.

Councillor Alison Smith, deputy leader, said: “Our enforcement officers found some older vehicles were not meeting required standards. That’s why we are proposing limits to the maximum age.”

Exceptions will only be made for purpose-built London-style cabs and where taxis are maintained to a very high standard and subject to six-monthly inspections.

http://www.thisisleicestershire.co.uk

Cabbies warn Ellesmere Port could suffer if numbers are derestricted

The three zones of Cheshire West

CABBIES in Chester have warned drivers in Ellesmere Port what to expect if licence numbers are derestricted.

Numbers of hackney carriages in Chester have been derestricted since 2008, despite fierce protests from local drivers.

Now a questionnaire forming part of a Cheshire West and Chester Council consultation with cabbies and the public asks if Ellesmere Port should follow suit.

Chris Farrell, secretary of the Chester Licensed Hackney Association, said: “If they derestrict there they’ll have a fleet of cabs and they’ll be in the same state we’ve had to endure.”

Mr Farrell said there had been three repossessions of vehicles since derestriction and others had returned to driving private hire cars after struggling to make a living with the influx of more hackney cabs.

There are only 17 taxi rank spaces for the 51 hackney cabs currently operating in Ellesmere Port, and drivers suggest opening up licences to more would make the situation even less manageable.

Chairman of the association Richard Barker also warned customers in Ellesmere and Neston could face an increase in fares to Chester’s higher rates as the council bids to harmonise fares.

He also said many drivers only have ‘the knowledge’ of their own towns and cities, and plans to allow hackney cabs to travel across the borough are flawed.

He added: “I wouldn’t know anywhere in Ellesmere Port. We’ve got the knowledge of our city.

“If somebody said ‘take me to the Red Lion’ they might has well have asked me to take them to the moon.”

Mr Barker also suggested major money-spinning events such as Chester Races may attract hackney carriage drivers from Ellesmere Port, leaving people in the town without any cabs.

“That’s the point of zones, so that people in those zones are looked after,” he added.

“We say if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

The council have insisted that while they are looking to standardise the three different policies they inherited, no decisions have been taken and any decisions will be informed by the needs of the local area.

A Cheshire West and Chester Council spokeswoman said: “We are looking to hear from all drivers, who have each been written to individually, as part of the public consultation process.”

The questionnaire can be found online at tinyurl.com/85t9hnh and respondents can also send comments online to taxiconsultation@cheshire westandchester.gov.uk or by calling 0300 123 8

source: http://www.ellesmereportpioneer.co.uk/

Taxi rules could be standardised across West Cheshire

Council Area

RESIDENTS are being asked for their views on proposed taxi licensing changes to standardise rules across West Cheshire.

Cheshire West and Chester Council inherited different policies from the previous local authority areas of Ellesmere Port and Neston, Chester and Vale Royal.

Currently there are taxi zones meaning hackney cabs can only pick up passengers in their zone, for example, in Ellesmere Port and Neston. Unlike other zones in West Cheshire, there is also a limit of 51 hackney cabs in Ellesmere Port and Neston.

People completing the consultation will be asked if they agree zones and the limit in Ellesmere Port and Neston should be abolished.

In Vale Royal saloon cars without wheelchair access can be licensed as hackney cabs and consultees are asked if they think saloons should be allowed to operate as hackney cabs in Ellesmere Port and Neston too.

cheshire east and cheshire west

Restrictions on the colour of the vehicles may also be put in place and the fare structure may be unified across the borough.

The council is inviting feedback on the possible changes during a three-month consultation period which began this week.

Copies of the questionnaire are available in public buildings and community venues throughout the borough, backed by a poster and press advertising campaign.

Cllr Lynn Riley, executive member for community and environment, said: “I would urge everyone who uses taxis or works in the trade to let us know their views on the possible changes.

“All feedback will be considered when a decision is taken on whether to change any of the existing policies – so every opinion really does count.”

The consultation is focussed on taxis, their drivers and drivers of private hire vehicles. Licensing changes to private hire vehicles have already been introduced following earlier consultation.

Anyone wishing to register their views can do so in the following ways:

Complete a paper copy of the questionnaire and send it to Research and Intelligence Team, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Goldsmith House, Hamilton Place, Chester CH1 1SE, or drop it off at any library.

Complete the questionnaire at www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/taxiconsultation

Write to the council at the address above (please mark it Taxi Consultation).

Send an email to taxiconsultation@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

Call 0300 123 8 123 and ask to comment on the taxi consultation.

The consultation closes on Monday, April 16.

source: http://www.ellesmereportpioneer.co.uk/

Bedford taxi strike cancelled

PRIVATE hire and taxi drivers have cancelled a planned Christmas week strike following talks with council chiefs.

The drivers, supported by operators held talks with Bedford Borough Council’s head of transport Chris Pettiffer last Wednesday.

After the meeting a decision was made to hold off on strike action to have more dialogue with the council.

During the meeting the drivers laid out their proposals, and a decision was made to differ plans to introduce a single badge scheme which would require drivers to resit key test at a cost of over £200 per car.

Balal Shah, spokesman for the drivers, said: “We don’t want to go down that road, at this time of year without having proper dialogue with the council.”

source: http://www.bedfordtoday.co.uk/