Taxi Licensing Update for both Drivers and Operators - February 2019

Posted 12/02/2019 : By: Tim Norris

Matters you might consider and questions you may ask

Is your taxi licence safe both as a driver or Operator? In other words are the local authority likely to challenge whether you are a “fit and proper person” to hold either licence?

Have you considered what your liability as a Director of a Taxi Company is? Should I have CCTV in my vehicle(s)? Or should we insist that owner/drivers have it fitted?

Are my drivers employees or not? What rights do they have? Do I have a responsibility for their health and safety?

Is it worth me supporting the use of Zero and Ultra Low emission vehicles within my Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicle fleet? Can I apply to my local council to incentivise this through a reduction in fees? (see below) Are there enough rapid and fast charging points for EVs in the district?

Safeguarding - have the drivers completed a council run course? Should I provide training? Are the drivers aware of the “County Line” initiatives run by the Home Office to prevent vulnerable children being used by “gangs”? Have we trained the drivers to recognise the signs or “red flags” such as:

  • A child, normally 14-15 years old, but can be as young as 12, travelling a long train journey alone.
  • They may be from another area so may not be familiar with an area (may look lost) and may have a distinct urban accent.
  • They may be travelling during school hours or unusual hours (e.g. late in the evening).
  • An obvious relationship with controlling, older individuals.
  • Suspicion of self-harm, physical assault or unexplained injuries.
  • Excessive receipt of texts or phone calls.

Do you believe that because electrically-driven vehicles are quieter and smoother than diesel equivalents – their drivers are both less stressed and more focused on driving?

Are you aware of the Low Carbon Vehicle initiative and its impact on the Taxi Trade? Its objectives being:

  • To set out the business, environmental and operational case for low emission taxis.
  • To provide a brief overview of the policy framework national, regional and local relating to air quality, climate change and specifically to taxis. Highlight current fiscal incentives.
  • To provide an overview of the range of low/ultra emission technologies and fuels suitable for taxis and match these to different types of operators and journey patterns. Demonstrate total cost of ownership and environmental performance. Provide guidance on charging and refuelling infrastructure.
  • To present low emission taxi operator and local authority case studies from different part of the UK.

With the increasing pressure of improving local air quality and the establishment of Clean Air Zones, and the London Ultra Low Emission Zone, taxi operators will need to evaluate the suitability of their current vehicle(s) with regards to achieving mandatory vehicle emission standards. Should I start planning, as an Operator or driver, now as to whether this will impact on my business sooner rather than later?

The National Register of Refusals and Revocations has now been live since July 2018. The new register will allow Councils to record details of where a licence has been refused or revoked and will also allow local authorities to check new applicants against the register. The Local Government Association (LGA) has commissioned the National Anti-Fraud Network (NAFN) to develop and host the register. NAFN is a shared service which supports public authorities to tackle fraud and share intelligence.

Also Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are now mandatory on application and renewal of PHV and Hackney carriage licences. Have you had an incident that has been recorded and may well be disclosed? Can it be challenged?

We regularly represent both Taxi Operators and Drivers before licensing sub committees and the courts. We specialise in providing advice and representation across the sector, including Operator Licensing for PSV operators as well as the taxi trade. Call Tim Norris or Tim Ridyard for a FREE telephone consultation.

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