Taxi and private hire news and information
Information on matters concerning hackney carriages and private hire vehicles - such as changes in procedures, consultations, fees and policies. A PDF file will appear at the bottom of the page for each new update.
Consultation on Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Standards and Tinted Windows.
We are now consulting on proposed changes to our Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy. Please take the time to participate in this consultation, it can be completed by copying and editing the word document version on the website and emailing it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. or by post.
Please note that the consultation period closes on Sunday 16 May 2021, if your response is not submitted before midnight on Sunday 16 May 2021, we may not take it into consideration.
Taxi licensing newsletter March 2021
1. Consultation. Following the introduction of Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards under section 177(4) of the Policing and Crime Act 2017 the Council is obliged to consider the new standards. Many of the Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards are already in place in Runnymede but there are a number (9) which are not in our policy which need to be considered.
In addition to these standards, we are also revisiting the matter of tinted windows again. In previous meeting we said we would so this is also included in the consultation.
You will all receive an email with the consultation details shortly as well as a hard copy by post.
Please take the time to make your contribution by filing in the consultation paper (above).
2. HMRC The Government has announced mandatory taxi check for driver, vehicle and operator licences from April 2022. In its announcement, the Government said:
Licensing bodies will be required to signpost first-time applicants to HMRC guidance about their potential tax obligations and obtain confirmation that the applicant is aware of the guidance before considering the application. Where the application is not a first-time application (a renewed application) the licensing body must, before considering the application, obtain confirmation from HMRC that the applicant has completed a tax check.
An applicant will carry out a tax check by providing information to enable HMRC to satisfy itself that the applicant has complied with an obligation to notify their chargeability to tax, where such an obligation applied. The check will include a question about whether income from the licensed activity has been declared to HMRC, where the applicant was chargeable to tax. The check will be completed when HMRC is satisfied the applicant has provided all information requested.
3. If you have been following the Uber saga then this may interest you.
4. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for taxis and PHVs Published Date: 03/03/2021
The government has issued comprehensive guidance for taxi and PHV sector on actions that drivers, operators and owners of taxis or private hire vehicles (PHVs) can take to protect against coronavirus.
The new guidance covers the following topics: Carrying out a COVID-19 risk assessment - drivers, Picking up passengers, In the vehicle, End of journey - leaving the vehicle, Preparing your vehicle for the next passenger, If you have coronavirus symptoms or have been told to self-isolate, Financial help for drivers, PHV operators and taxi intermediaries, Carrying out a COVID-19 risk assessment - operators and intermediaries, Providing health information to drivers and passengers, Financial help for PHV operators and taxi intermediaries
Previous three newsletters
Information for members of the public using Taxis and Private Hire vehicles
You should wear a face covering when using taxis or private hire vehicles. A taxi driver or private hire vehicle operator may be entitled to refuse to accept you if you do not wear a face covering.
Keep a 2 metre distance from others during your journey, for example at taxi ranks. If you need to be near other people you should:
- avoid physical contact
- try to face away from other people
- keep the time you spend near other people as short as possible
Follow the advice of the driver. For example, you may be asked to sit in the back left-hand seat if travelling alone. You may want to check with your taxi or private hire operator before travelling if they have put any additional measures in place.
You should use contactless payment if possible, or find out if you can pay online in advance.
Be aware of the surfaces you touch. Be careful not to touch your face. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when coughing or sneezing.
When finishing your journey wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise your hands as soon as possible.
The Government has announced increased testing for taxi and PH drivers to help the Government learn more about who is at higher risk and how the virus is spreading.
ONS data showed that taxi and private hire drivers are at a much higher risk of becoming infected and passing away from contracting the virus.
The news means that tax and PH drivers will be included in the NHS Test and Trace programme as people without symptoms working in a 'high risk' profession - namely any job where people spend extended periods of time in an enclosed space with a large number of customers.
Dido Harding, executive chairwoman of NHS Test and Trace, confirmed at the Thursday 11 June Downing Street press conference that routine testing of asymptomatic people will now be expanded beyond the health sector.
She said: "We are now rolling that approach out to other high risk, high contact professions such as people who spend significant amounts of time in enclosed space with a large number of people - so taxi drivers, security guards.
"We need to get better at hunting out the virus, both as individuals - if we have the symptoms getting a test - and then NHS Test and Trace needs to get better at targeting our testing in communities and professions where there are likely to be more people who have the disease but aren't showing symptoms."
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association have created guidance to help taxi operators support customers with sight loss through good communication skills while maintaining social distancing.
A spokesperson for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association said: "The coronavirus has had a profound impact on how we all travel, and we welcome the actions taken by many operators to support their passengers. People with sight loss face particular challenges when making their essential journey by taxi at the moment. It is also needed more than ever to help passengers understand social distancing requirements when using taxis.
"We hope that this guidance will help taxi operators meet their duty under equalities' legislation to provide reasonable adjustments for passengers."
The Air Quality (Taxi and Private Hire Vehicles Database) (England and Wales) Regulations 2019
From October 2019 we will be required to provide information about all hackney carriages and private hire vehicles licensed by Runnymede to the above database. The information given will be, registration mark, the date from which the licence has effect, the date on which the licence is due to expire, whether the vehicle is a taxi or a private hire vehicle and such other information the licensing authority holds in relation to the vehicle that may be relevant for the purposes of ensuring the accurate identification of vehicles, having had regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State. The guidance for authorities contains fuller details about the database and the need for it, please see the link below for more information.
Under the Equality Act 2010, licensed drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles are under a duty to carry passengers with guide, hearing and other assistance dogs without additional charge. Drivers can apply for to the Council for a certificate exempting them from carrying assistance dogs on medical grounds. Runnymede will take any refusal to carry assistance dogs very seriously.
To highlight the issues those with assistance dogs face we have please read the Guide Dog Association web page which gives the full story.
The Guide Dogs Association has produced a video to help drivers understand the needs of people with assistance dogs, please make yourself aware of these very useful tips.
Transport for London have produced a very useful guide on the different type of assistance dog, please see the link to view the poster.
The law regarding seatbelts can be confusing and there are some exemptions for taxis and private hire vehicles, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) and DVLA produce a useful guides to this.
These are held three times per year alternating between Chertsey and Egham. Their purpose is to enable better communication between the licensing officers and the trade by having a two way flow of information and ideas. Your attendance is very welcome.
The latest forum was held on Thursday 14 November 2019 at The Hythe Centre, thank you to all 6 drivers/operators who attended, your views were very constructive. The current situation has led to all planned forums being cancelled but we will arrange further forums when the situation allows.
The last three forum's notes have been placed below for your information. We do hold notes from all other previous forums and they are available on request.
Previous forum notes