Taxi and private hire news
1. Hackney Carriage Tariff Increase Approved
Following a meeting of the Regulatory Committee on 6 June 2022 the Council have decided to propose a change to the fares by increasing the RATE 1 pull of rate(1st mile), the second mile and ongoing miles by 30p per mile or part thereof. Rates 2,3 and 4 are increased on a pro rata basis. This is the first proposed increase in 8 years and with the high cost of fuel and the cost of living it will be welcome to drivers. Normally the Council would review the fares in November but felt that acting now would be beneficial to the trade. There is scope to review the fares again should costs continue to increase.
When there is a change in fares, we have a statutory duty under Section 65 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 to advertise any proposed changes.
We must publish an advert in a local newspaper and allow a 14-day period for any objections to the proposed changes.
The advert was placed in the Surrey Advertiser on Friday 17 June 2022 with the 14-day period ending on 2 July.
Thank you to all who responded to the survey on fares as this was a great help in the Committees decision making process.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has issued best practice guidance on taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) licensing since 2006 to assist local authorities that have responsibility for the regulation of this sector.
This has recently been updated to consider stakeholder views and changes in the way the sector operates.
DfT is seeking views from the public, licensing authorities and the taxi and PHV industry on the proposed updated version.
The Council as The Licensing Authority has responded to the consultation but if you are a driver or operator in Runnymede, it is important that you voice your opinion and let the Department for Transport know what you want.
Read the consultation document
The consultation will run for 12 weeks from 28 March 2022 until 23:45 on 20 June 2022.
3. Tinted windows condition relaxed
In June 2021 the Regulatory Committee considered the restriction on tinted windows and agreed that it was a finely balanced argument and considered that pending additional data and feedback the policy should remain unchanged and would be reviewed again in June 2022.
A further report was heard by this Committee on 6 June 2022 and members were made aware of the comments and strength of feeling from drivers at the forum on 25 May 2022.
After due consideration members agreed to the condition on tinted windows being amended. In effect the new condition means there is no restriction on the level of tinted window which can be fitted on the rear windows. Any level is acceptable although they must be factory fitted comply with construction and use regulations, plastic film tints are not permitted.
4. Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Disabled Persons) Act 2022
On 28 June, the Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Disabled Persons) Act 2022 (“The 2022 Act”) will take effect in England, Scotland, and Wales1. It will amend the Equality Act 2010 to introduce new, and amend existing, duties for local authorities and taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers and operators alike. The 2022 Act aims to ensure that disabled people can use taxi and PHV services with confidence that they will not be discriminated against, and local authorities have an important role to play in ensuring the requirements are implemented effectively.
The Council will consider the issue of mandatory disability awareness training for drivers and operators at its Regulatory Committee meeting in September 2022.
New requirements for drivers and operators
The existing legislation requires drivers of designated wheelchair accessible vehicles to accept the carriage of wheelchair users, provide them with reasonable mobility assistance, and refrain from charging them more than other passengers.
From 28 June, all taxi and PHV drivers and operators – regardless of whether the vehicle is wheelchair accessible – will be subject to duties under the Equality Act. The main changes are set out below.
All Taxi and PHV drivers will be required to:
Accept the carriage of any disabled person, provide them with reasonable mobility assistance, and carry their mobility aids, all without charging any more than they would for a non-disabled passenger.
Provide any disabled passenger who requests it with assistance to identify the vehicle, at no extra charge.
All PHV operators will be required to:
Accept bookings for or on behalf of any disabled person, if they have a suitable vehicle available.
Currently, drivers of designated WAVs may apply for an exemption certificate on medical grounds or where their physical condition makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult to perform the section 165 duties. Exemptions are currently granted from all of the duties at section 165.
As a result of the new Act, from 28 June:
All taxi and PHV drivers may apply for an exemption certificate and notice on medical grounds or where their physical condition prevents them from performing the mobility assistance duties at sections 164a and 165 (as added/amended by the 2022 Act).
Both existing and new exemption notices, when displayed correctly, will exempt a driver only from the mobility assistance duties at sections 164a and 165 – meaning, for example, that a driver’s medical condition can no longer be used as a justification for charging a disabled person more than a non-disabled person.
All licensed hackney carriage and private hire drivers will be subject to the new duties introduced by the 2022 Act, any who consider themselves medically or physically unfit to perform the mobility assistance duties and who do not already hold an exemption should contact the licensing section to seek an exemption as a matter of urgency.
If you currently hold an exemption notice that the notice will continue to remain valid until replaced or withdrawn, and that, regardless of the notice wording, from 28 June it will exempt drivers only from the mobility assistance duties at new sections 164a and 165.
5. Taxi forum
Please see notes of the taxi forum on 25 May, further forum dates will be arranged as soon as possible.
6. Are you short of work / a plea for drivers
On speaking to private hire operators in the borough some have said they have lots of work but not enough drivers, the same comment has been made by some hackney driver businesses.
One operator has asked us to let you know they are looking for drivers, if you are interested and have a euro6 spec car, contact Andy Cook at Image Cars in Addlestone on 01932 827000.
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