Passengers travelling in taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs), including app-based services, will be kept safer under tough new licensing standards introduced by the government, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced today (21 July 2020).
The new Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards are designed to improve consistency in the licensing, reducing the risk of harm to children and vulnerable passengers. It follows historic and serious cases of taxi and PHV drivers abusing their position of trust.
Criminal record checks for drivers every 6 months form a key part of the standards, as does safeguarding training to help drivers identify and respond to passengers that may be being abused or exploited.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
We know the majority of drivers provide an important and safe service for communities, but in light of appalling incidents in places like Rochdale, Oxford, Newcastle and Rotherham, more must be done to protect passengers from those who abuse their position of trust.
That’s why we’re looking to licensing authorities to enforce these rigorous new standards, ensuring drivers are fit to transport passengers in a safe environment and to stop those who aren’t.
We expect all licensing authorities to implement the standards and won’t hesitate to introduce legislation if they don’t fulfil their responsibilities to keep the public safe.
Strengthened measures will mean drivers applying for a licence now required to disclose if they hold or have previously held a licence in another area. Local authorities will have robust reporting systems in place to make sure passengers feel comfortable reporting incidents and or suspicious behaviour. This follows the Casey Report which found there was inadequate investigation of some complaints in Rotherham.
Licensing authorities are expected to implement these measures as soon as possible.