A brief update on new legislation relating to equality duties and new duty on councils to report “out of town” drivers relating to safety concerns.

Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Disabled Persons) Act 2022

On 28 June, the Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Disabled Persons) Act 2022 will take effect in England, Scotland, and Wales.  It will amend the Equality Act 2010 to introduce new, and amend existing, duties for local authorities and taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers and operators alike. 

The 2022 Act aims to ensure that disabled people can use taxi and PHV services with confidence that they will not be discriminated against, and local authorities have an important role to play in ensuring the requirements are implemented effectively.

From 28 June, all licensing authorities must maintain and publish a list of licenced taxis and PHVs they designate as being wheelchair accessible. This will identify the vehicles whose drivers are subject to the duties at section 165 on providing assistance to wheelchair users and refraining from charging extra for this.

New requirements for drivers and operators

The existing legislation requires drivers of designated wheelchair accessible vehicles to accept the carriage of wheelchair users, provide them with reasonable mobility assistance, and refrain from charging them more than other passengers. From 28 June, all taxi and PHV drivers and operators – regardless of whether the vehicle is wheelchair accessible – will be subject to duties under the Equality Act. The main changes are set out below. 

Taxi and PHV drivers will be required to:

  • Accept the carriage of any disabled person, provide them with reasonable mobility assistance, and carry their mobility aids, all without charging any more than they would for a non-disabled passenger.
  • Provide any disabled passenger who requests it with assistance to identify the vehicle, at no extra charge.

PHV operators will be required to:

  • Accept bookings for or on behalf of any disabled person, if they have a suitable vehicle available.

 

Taxis and PHVs (Safeguarding and Road Safety) Act 2022

 

From 31 May 2022, if any licensing authority in England has information about a taxi or PHV driver licensed by another authority that is relevant to safeguarding or road safety concerns in its area, it must share that information with the authority that issued that driver’s licence. 

Any licensing authority provided with such information by another authority must consider whether to suspend or revoke the driver’s licence and inform the authority that shared the information of its decision.

The act will require licensing authorities in England to input, into a central database, instances where the authority has refused, suspended, chosen not to renew or revoked a taxi or PHV driver’s licence based wholly or in part on information relating to the driver concerning safeguarding or road safety.

Before a licensing authority in England decides whether to grant or renew a driver licence, it must search the database for any entry relating to the applicant.

If there is a relevant entry, the authority must contact the recording authority to request the relevant information. The decision-making licensing authority must then have regard to the information provided when making their decision.

The act gives the Secretary of State for Transport the power to provide or designate the database. The requirement that licensing authorities use the database will commence following regulations made by the Secretary of State for Transport.

Disclaimer: This article is for guidance purposes only. Kings View Chambers accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken, or not taken, in relation to this article. You should seek the appropriate legal advice having regard to your own particular circumstances.

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