NATU along with others have long argued that the current law in relation to taxi provision is outdated.
We were pleased that the previous Government agreed and referred the whole issue of taxi legislation to the Law Commission.
NATU presented evidence to the Commission and also to the Transport Committee http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmtran/720/11031501.htm
We have two key messages
First that the distinction between hackney (those you can hire from the street) and private hire (pre booked) taxis is doomed due to advances in technology and this has been demonstrated by the Uber method of booking using real time mobile apps. However, this also means that private hire as well as hackney vehicles should be of distinctive appearance to avoid the risk of people getting into a private car by mistake.
Our second message is that training and quality control within the taxi trade is frequently unsatisfactory or non-existent which puts customers at risk. This must be addressed and standards brought in line with other forms of public transport where formal qualifications such as the Certificate of Professional Competence are required for drivers. This should apply to both hackney and private hire taxis.
Unfortunately the Commission’s report ‘ducked’ the first issue and was weak on recommendations for the second. In any case the current Government have no plans to legislate. Meanwhile NATU will continue working to improve taxi services for passengers. You have been sending us some real horror stories about the background of some people awarded taxi licences and we are lobbying Ministers on this and other issues such as the absence of any ceiling on the number of driver’s hours.
Do let us know your experiences of both good and bad service.