Councils are backing the Welsh Government’s proposal to create a single-tier licensing system for taxis and private hire vehicles. This would introduce taxi holding areas, with electric charging facilities, outside town centres to address overcrowding at taxi ranks and reflect the growing use of electronic systems to book rides.
Infrastructure secretary Ken Skates said the distinction between taxis and PHVs was “unhelpful”, with technology having made pre-booking a vehicle almost instantaneous.
LTT has obtained consultation responses from various urban and rural councils, including Cardiff, Swansea, Vale of Glamorgan and Pembrokeshire. The responses use a common template which says that new primary legislation provides an opportunity to replace the “existing archaic legislative structure” with a system reflecting “an evolving transport regime”.
“In principle, a one-tier system would be the preferred model. However, it is acknowledged that a number of challenges would have to be overcome for this model to be successfully implemented,” said the councils.
One solution to the issue of increased pressure on rank space would be provision of additional holding areas on the fringes of town centres for vehicles to wait until they are booked electronically. “These areas could be tailored specifically for taxis, including charging points for the eventual move to electric vehicles and could be the catalyst for taxis [operators] to embrace electric vehicles.”
The response says that a single-tier system would create a level playing field for the trade, simplify insurance policies, decriminalise plying for trade with PHVs, be “much easier for the public to understand” and ensure consistent fares and quality standards. It would also “do away with the terms hackney carriage and private hire” and use only the term taxi, “which the public already recognise”.
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