Equality Act 2010 (Sections 165 &166) - Duties to assist passengers in wheelchairs and exemption from the duties:
The Equality Act 2010 contains new provisions which place duties on taxi and private hire drivers, to provide assistance to people in wheelchairs, if their vehicle is on a designated list maintained by the local licensing authority.
A driver can now apply to Licensing Team for an exemption notice from the duties, if it is appropriate to do so (for example a relevant medical condition). Please contact the Licensing Team if you wish to make further enquiries or request the relevant form. This section of the Act was commenced on 1 October 2010, and gives the opportunity for drivers to apply for an exemption notice prior to the actual duties to assist being implemented at a later date.
The Road Traffic Safety Act 2006 (section 53) repealed the part of section 75 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 which exempted certain categories of Private Hire drivers and vehicles from the need to be licensed - if they conducted their business by having hire contracts of not less than 7 days.
This change has been made in the interests of public safety, and now enables Local Authorities to conduct 'fit and proper' assessments on drivers, and suitability/safety checks on vehicles offering this type of service. In particular this will affect operators of school-run and social services contracts. It will also include executive hire, chauffeur services, park and ride for private car parks, airport travel, and even some private ambulance services.
These changes were implemented from 28 January 2008.
Under the Acts which regulate taxis and private hire vehicles exemptions from licensing a vehicle for the carriage of passengers for hire and reward are Wedding and Funeral Cars.