The industry is hampered at every turn by petty local officials and/or councillors who think they know better than Vosa /Dept for Transport/Eu regs and impose regulations based on the whim of an individual.
However some councils such as Crawley set similarly high standards for both PHV and HC while other less rigorous councils simply do the minimum when it comes to PHV standards. Do the public in one area deserve a lesser service than in another?
Equally other councils ignore those laws that do exist and allow cowboy operators to ride rough-shod over the very essence of the current laws particularly over cross border hiring and only using cars and drivers from the same local authority. Leading case is Shanks vs North Tyneside. I could supply names of companies and councils not far from Crawley.
It is equally ludicrous that legislation allows Hackney Carriages and Drivers plated and licensed by Berwick council to operate as Private Hire Vehicles and drivers anywhere in the country that they like, though maybe not London.
When cabs from another area operate mainly in a neighbouring town then the local Licensing Officer in the second town has very limited control over their activities.
Legislation means companies such as Hallmark who specialise in aircrew and corporate travel on a national basis currently have to get their drivers to study and pass a knowledge test for Luton, their base. This is not of much help in finding Exeter Airport.
Computerised booking and despatch technology, together with the mobile phone, has transformed the cab industry in recent years but legislation is still in the dark ages and desperately needs to be brought up to date.
The 1976 Local Govt.(Misc. Provisions) Act sought to licence and control the Private Hire industry which had sprung up in response to a need unmet by traditional Hackney carriages which were largely limited in number. However the situation that pertained then has been left far behind and we are faced with 21st century technology trying to operate under a set of rules that saw a 2-way radio as high tech equipment.
The public simply want to get a cab that is safe, clean, on-time, and not too expensive. They don't care whether it is called a Hackney Carriage or a Private Hire Vehicle.
Cab drivers and operators want to provide that service but are hampered by the current legislation and councils own bye-laws and regulations made under the old law regime
There will be many with vested interests who will object to any changes simply because it will not be favourable to all groups but the public will ultimately benefit from a modern cab service that they can either pre-book, hail in the street, or pick up from a rank.