Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Changes to the Private Hire Law in the UK

Ok, so a blog about the law that us chauffeurs face isn't massively interesting, but it is. You see, in Britain there are some antiquated laws that just never got changed. In theory, black cab drivers should still carry a bale of hay at all times for their horse!

One of these laws, relates to Private Hire Cars, like us as chauffeurs but also for private hire taxi's and involves something called cross border trading. To paint the picture, each council has it's own licensing department that deals with taxi and chauffeur licenses. What happens is you register with a council and you operate there, we're registered with Medway Council. Now, if you take a booking from a client that means you work in another councils licensing area, you currently have to send one of your licensed cars to do the job. This isn't a problem if like us you're registered in Medway but the job comes up in London, it's only a half hour journey.

The problem occurs when you have a client in Manchester or Glasgow that wants to use you. Under the current law, you can't just sub-contract the job to a local company, you have to send a car all the way to Scotland, do the job, then bring the car back. Not exactly green you'll agree, but that's the way it is.

Until now.

Last year the Law Commission were looking into the Private Hire Law and published recommendations to amend the law. One of their main areas of concern was the cross border trading, in that they knew people were sub-contracting to other areas, understood why they were doing it, and recommended the law change to allow it. However, as with most government operations, it was held up for three months with administrative delays and finally it was announced this week that the changes won't be made this side of the general election. Huzzah!

However, when whatever deity you prefer closes a window, they also open a door. In Mr. Cameron's attempts to cut "red tape" around small businesses, there is currently a "Deregulation bill" going through Parliament. This bill covers just about everything, from Sikhs not wearing helmets on building sites to the need to gain the secretary of states approval for pelican crossings. As of yesterday it also includes the amendment to the law on Private Hire Vehicles cross border trading to allow it as long as both vehicles are legally operating in their boroughs. There are other amendments too which involve my wife being able to drive my car when it's not being used as a private hire vehicle and applying for my license less often.

I guess, what I'm trying to say, through gritted teeth, is well done Coalition. You've taken 4 years but you've finally called something right. And there's an election next year...

To book a Private Hire Vehicle anywhere in the UK, click here

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