THE LAW, THE LAW COMMISSION AND THE TAXI TRADE....by Mike Holder.
Which laws govern taxis?
The Hackney Carriage Act 1831 was the first major legislation governing taxis and has been renewed and extended since – below are some other Acts of Parliament that apply to the trade:
London Hackney Carriage Act 1843
Town Police Clauses Act 1847
Metropolitan Public Carriage Act 1869
London Cab Act 1896, 1968
London Cab and Stage Carriage Act 1907
London Cab Order 1934, 1973
Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976
Transport Act 1980
Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
The law commission are seeking to repeal all these acts, bin them and start afresh
Under section 5 of the interim report the Law commission will not be seeking to define in law Plying for hire.
In reference to section 5 of the report:
''We suggest moving away from the out-dated concept of plying for hire and use instead a more modern definition of the limits to the way private hire services may be offered, using the concept of pre-booking (which would be statutorily defined) through a licensed operator''
This will lead to a nation standard for Private Hire and Taxis.
If the Law Commissions recommendations make it through to legislation, minicabs, illegally plying for hire will not be reportable as an offence, as in the eyes of the law, they will just be parked cars.
A minicab flagged down could then take the more modern concept and enter into a pre booking arrangement by handing the passenger a phone to record details with a licensed operator.
Touting however, is one of the hardest offenses to bring to court as you have to prove solicitation. Hense the minute amount of cases that actually make it to court ( just 6 in the first quarter of 2013) compared to the huge problem witness most nights across Lonon.
The authorities use word play to to disguise the enormity of the problem refering to licensed PHV touts as UNLICENSED MINICABS.
The police in general turn a blind eye to touting, as the problem is too huge for them to tackle.
Wandsworth Met actually recruited touts and advised them to work for local minicab firms and encouraged the proliferation of satellite offices with clipboard johnnies borough wide.
What exactly is a taxi tout?
A tout is someone who acts “in a public place to solicit persons to hire vehicles to carry them as passengers”. Typically they operate in mainline railway stations, airports or other busy public places, and offer a cheaper than standard fare – although invariably the fare finally paid is many times the standard rate.
Also touting may invalidate any insurance they may have – and as the touts and drivers are acting illegally it is unlikely they will have specialist hire-and-reward insurance cover. Touting was made a criminal offence in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 which the Law Commission are seeking to repeal.
So, who's got your back?
Trade organisations actively engaged in action to demonstrate disapproval of the report equate to less than 8% of the total Taxi trade.
Funny though, the LTDA with their enormouse 9000 membership base, don't see any danger in the Law Commission recommendations and have refused to meet with other trade orgs to discuss the issue on numerous occasions.
If you are a member of the LTDA, actively paying their wages, how do you feel about their capitulation to the Law Commission report.
Meanwhile the majority of the trade have their heads in the sand. They will be the ones shouting the loudest when the muck finally hits the fan and they become no more than glorified minicabs.