Taxi reforms ‘urgently needed’

It follows the proliferation of app-based taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) companies and increased out-of-area working, which councils cannot take enforcement action against. The total number of licensed taxi and PHVs in England increased to 291,800 in 2019, an increase of 58 per cent on the 184,500 licensed vehicles in 2005.

These figures have largely been driven by a surge in licensed PHVs, which have risen to 221,200 in 2019, a staggering increase of 83 per cent on the 120,400 PHVs in 2005.

Revamped taxi laws could make enforcement easier by introducing a common set of licensing standards and be updated to reflect new technology that would help reduce the risk of child sexual exploitation, improve passenger safety, and create a level playing field for drivers by tackling out-of-area working.

The LGA is also calling for national minimum licensing standards for drivers of taxis and PHVs, and a mandatory national database of all licensed taxi and PHV drivers.

Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “Reforms are needed to reflect the increasing use of mobile phone apps to book taxis and PHVs, and to give councils national enforcement powers so they can take action against any vehicles operating in their areas irrespective of where they are licensed.”

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