Plan Insurance Blog

Changes needed to private hire standards

Private hire standards need to be made absolute across the UK, argues Steve Wright, Chairman of the LPHCA. Speaking at the LPHCA Roadshow that took place at Heathrow’s Marriott Hotel on the 26th September, he demanded that the government look into the minimum standards regulations to bring more consistency across local authorities.

He suggested that a number of elements, such as tinted windows, signage, vehicle colours, branding and CCTV standards are all in need of a review.

Tinted windows on vehicles were a particular concern for Steve Wright, who said that many on the new cars would not be licensed. He used the example of an unnamed operator being refused a licence ‘because the licensing operator could not see if there was any illegal activity taking place in the rear of the vehicle’.

He said on the subject:

“We are criminal licence checked. What are they saying about our industry? That we are all crooks and criminals?”

“Have to get consistency” in private hire standards

The lack of consistency across local authorities also needed to be addressed, according to the Founder and Chairman of the LPHCA. He explained that an operator who had been requested to include a WAV (Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle) to their fleet had then had its licence application rejected as the vehicle was three months over the age limit for new vehicle registrations. The same vehicle was then accepted by another, nearby authority.

Steve Wright claimed that there were also “operator fees different from one side of the road to another”, criminal record checks and medical examinations being completed at completely different levels and English language tests “ranging from none at all to impossible to pass”.

He said:

“National regulations affect everyone, but what is being proposed is minimum standards. We’ve had minimum standards since 1976. Minimum standards mean local authorities can do what they want. There are 286 licencing authorities and they all do something different. How is an industry supposed to work like that? There are things that are radically wrong with some local authorities and we have got to get some consistency.”

The passionate speech, delivered to a packed room of LPHCA members, partners and industry providers, was extremely well-received by the audience, especially when he added that he will be meeting TfL soon to discuss all of the association’s concerns. Whether the regulator will be willing to address these or not remains to be seen, but Steve Wright will certainly go into those discussions knowing he has the backing of his members.

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