Have your say on improvements to Bristol’s taxi service

A consultation has been launched on policies to help improve the quality of Bristol’s taxi service for drivers and passengers.

Taxi drivers and representatives of the trade, as well customers and members of the public are being asked to give their views on several changes to improve the taxi and private hire licensing standards in the city.

Most of the proposed changes will bring us in line with new national standards and include:

  • a requirement for all licensed drivers to subscribe to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) update service
  • revisions to the Fit and Proper Person policy including changes to the convictions policy
  • the introduction of a new Private Hire Operators policy that formalises operators’ responsibilities
  • enhanced mandatory safeguarding training for drivers
  • a requirement for all hackney carriage vehicles to have a card payment system
  • a change to the existing policy for private hire vehicles to allow tinted rear windows, but only where they are supplied as standard on a vehicle and meet safety regulations.

These changes are being proposed to improve the safety and security of passengers, taxi drivers and taxi companies, and we want to ensure companies have clear policies and training in place.

Taxis play a pivotal role in our transport network and we need to make sure our policies remain relevant and up to date, so we can continue to support our drivers to provide a quality service to the city.

We have worked closely with representatives of the trade while developing these proposals, and we now want to hear what drivers and passengers have to say about these potential changes.

Councillor Steve Pearce, Cabinet Member responsible for licensing

The proposed changes relating to the DBS update service and Private Hire Operators’ policy have been recommended following the publication of national standards by the government.

The changes relating to tints and a mandatory card payment system have been requested by the city’s taxi drivers.

These proposals are mainly required to bring us in line with national standards relating to safeguarding passengers, which we welcome. However, the government also needs to recognise the risks that drivers face from anti-social behaviour and hate crime, and the devastation caused to the trade by COVID-19.

The introduction of card payment system will make it more convenient and safer for passengers, because many people no longer carry cash and contactless is often the preferred option.  Of course passengers will still be able to pay in cash if they choose.

Councillor Ruth Pickersgill, Chair of Bristol City Council’s Public Safety and Protection Committee

Further information on the proposed changes can be found within the survey. The consultation will finish on 21 March 2021.

To read the draft policy and to take part visit bristol.gov.uk/taxiconsultation

A paper or alternative format copy can be obtained by contacting the Licensing Team by email at [email protected] or by phone on 0117 357 4900.

Press release by Bristol City Council.