Daniel Zeichner MP is gearing up for tomorrow's debate on his Taxi Safety Bill as it returns to the House of Commons for is Second Reading tomorrow. The Bill will create new laws to improve safety for passengers of taxis and private hire vehicles. The Private Member's Bill is supported by trade unions, campaign groups, Labour's Shadow Transport team and the Government.
The Bill, entitled the "Licensing of Taxis and PHVs (Safeguarding and Road Safety) Bill," will mandate councils to record license refusals, revocations and suspensions on a central register, which other councils can then check. It also strengthens enforcement powers and will improve council's abilities to work together.
Daniel says: "I'm excited to debate my Bill, and really hope that it is supported by MPs from all sides. It will give councils powers that they have been requesting to improve licensing and enforcement, and will increase passenger safety. The taxi and private hire sector is a proud table, and this will not only work to maintain high standards, but will also increase public trust."
"I've worked with unions, licensing authorities, charities, campaign groups and many members of the trade to get this right - there is widespread support for these measures to improve standards and safety in the sector."
"Many vulnerable people rely on taxis and private hires - the legislation needs to protect them. Taxi and private hire vehicle regulation is fragmented and out of date, and needs a major overhaul. Until then, this Bill will keep those who use taxis and private hire vehicles safer."
The Bill is supported by the Local Government Association, who have commissioned the database that will be put on a statutory footing by the Bill.
Cllr Simon Blackburn, Deputy Chair of the LGA's Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: "Councils have long argued that there is a need for the existing outdated taxi laws to be updated, with the legislation governing aspects of taxis and private hire vehicles pre-dating the invention of motor cars."
"In recent years, we've seen a number of child sexual exploitation cases that have involved some taxi and PHV holders abusing the trust that has been placed in them, so there are strong safeguarding reasons for taking action to strengthen the current legislation.
"The LGA has led the way in trying to improve safety on this crucial issue, commissioning a database that will enable authorities to share information that stops rogue drivers abusing the system by applying for licenses in different areas if they have been refused or revoked somewhere else.
"We are encouraged that our initiative is being supported by this Bill and the Government. This Bill should act as an essential first step towards updating the current patchwork of out-of-date taxi legislation, and we're keen to see further progress towards doing so."
The Bill is also supported by the industry.
Lisa Buger, Addison Lee's Chief Operating Officer, said: "Addison Lee are pleased to support Mr Zeichner's proposals. This database will help ensure licensing authorities share knowledge and information, which will help to raise standards in the taxi and private hire industries, improving safety for passengers across the country."
Matteo De Renzi, CEO of Gett UK, the UK's Black Cab App, says:
"Any initiative that contributes to raising standards in this sector should be welcomed and supported. As the largest on-demand app for black taxis, Gett's overarching priority is to ensure the safety of its passengers across the UK. As a business, we are defined by the quality of our drivers as they represent us as a company to our customers. We are therefore fully supportive of any steps taken to improve higher driving safety standards across the UK, something which this bill goes some way to achieve. We congratulate Daniel on putting this important issue on the national agenda and look forward to working with him and the Government as the bill progresses through Parliament."