After lengthy discussions regarding the regulation of taxis and private hire vehicles, the Law Commission has reported that it would be setting limitations on local taxi numbers as well as introducing licences for wedding cars.
With the original plan no longer granting licensing agents the right to restrict the amount of taxis allowed to operate within a certain region, the Commission has decided that continuing with the restrictions would work out better.
Advantages vs disadvantages
It seems that the pros outweigh the cons, with the Commission recognising that by placing limitations this in fact helps with tackling the issue of over-ranking as well as congestion – whilst at the same time upholding quality standards for the taxi industry.
The Law Commission also hopes to apply similar guidelines to funeral and wedding cars, by suggesting they maintain their exempt status from licensing instead of depending on the Secretary of State to allow the exclusion.
It also hopes to retain the two-tier format that helps identify mini-cabs from taxis, as well as the behaviour of the iconic hackney trade – with taxis permitted to pick up passengers specifically from a rank or on the street. Mini-cabs will resume being limited to providing a pre-booked operation.
Making it “fit for purpose”
Currently, many find the legal framework for taxis to be “complex and inconsistent” – and it is hoped that the review will identify any areas requiring improvement to “ensure it is fit for purpose”.
Taking into consideration the needs of operators, drivers as well as licensing authorities, the Commission found that the two-tier system was a helpful strategy – with mini-cabs proving a vital resource.
Leading the campaign, Frances Patterson QC, is confident that the views of passengers surveyed will help improve the system: “And they convinced us that the trade and its passengers will benefit if licensing authorities continue to have the power to limit taxi numbers.”
Improving the framework
With the Commission set to make these changes in the near future, it’s essential for those within the taxi and mini-cab industry to take into account how these changes may affect them. Wedding and funeral cars will need to find out how the new licensing system will work and its impact on their private hire insurance, and what else they can expect from the new proposals.
Individuals and organisations within (or looking to get into) the taxi and mini-cab trade must always ensure they are up-to-date with the latest news, but for more a detailed overview of private taxi hire insurance policies, speak to a private hire expert to get the best out of your insurance – and business.