The government has made a number of changes to private hire regulations in 2016. These changes were made to policies to improve safety for drivers, passengers and other road users. In addition to this, standards have also been raised across the entire taxi industry.
If you are operating as a private hire driver, these changes will certainly affect you if you hold the relevant license. Additionally, anyone who wishes to become a private hire driver, operator or vehicle licensee, alterations to the rules and regulations will affect them too.
Below, we will be covering at least four commonly overlooked restrictions of a private hire insurance policy that you need to be aware of.
First and foremost, private hire vehicles will still be required to have a sufficient level of hire or reward insurance at the licensing stage. This is in addition to when it is in use as a private hire vehicle used to transport passengers from one location to another. It is of utmost importance that your vehicle is covered by private hire taxi insurance when you are obtaining your license. This is the same for new drivers and those who are renewing an existing license.
It’s useful to also note that if the vehicle is not covered by private hire cover, unfortunately you will not be granted a new or replacement license as a driver. If you do already hold an existing private hire vehicle license, you must have an active hire or reward insurance policy in place at all times during day to day operations whilst using your vehicle for work.
We should also mention that drivers who do not meet the above requirements could be prosecuted as they will be breaking the law. If you are currently an existing private hire licensed operator and you do not have an adequate insurance policy, you may face prosecution for undertaking any bookings. Furthermore, at any time in the future, your fitness to hold a full private hire license could be reviewed on short notice.
You should not have any signs that are used for advertisement purposes displayed on your private hire vehicle, unless of course these have been approved by Transport for London (TfL). Any advertising material that you have inside your taxi must adhere to TfL’s rules and guidelines.
As a private hire driver, you must send a confirmation of the booking to your passenger when he or she books a journey with you. This must happen before the journey is due to start and is a legal requirement on your part, whether you are operating as an individual or a company.
In the booking process, you must also collect any relevant contact information from the customer. You can collect this information in a variety of ways such as phone call, email or text message. On top of this, your booking confirmation must include the following details:
Records must be kept for a minimum of 12 months. These include the following: records of bookings, complaints, lost property and driver and vehicle records. This is an obligation on your part as a private hire driver. These changes are slightly different to regulations in past years, whereby only some records were required to be kept for 12 months.
Further requirements and restrictions
In summary, the above changes to private hire regulations will have a noticeable impact on private hire drivers. Above, we have listed at least four restrictions that are sometimes overlooked by private hire drivers. Understanding these will help you improve safety and overall industry standards for everyone involved.