Greater Manchester Minimum Licensing Standards

Taxis and private hire services are a crucial part of the transport network, and it’s vital that they can consistently deliver safe and high-quality services for the public. It’s an important way for many people to get around and that’s why we’re working with the ten Greater Manchester local licensing authorities to make sure every journey meets the same high standard.

Together, we’ve developed a set of common, minimum standards for the taxis and private hire services they license. This work has taken place alongside the city-region’s Clean Air Plan to tackle poor roadside air quality, so that taxis and PHVs can play their part in reducing harmful emissions.

Proposed Greater Manchester Minimum Licensing Standards

Alongside funding from the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan, the proposed minimum licensing standards will help make services safer and more customer-focused, with high environmental and accessibility standards.

Anyone using a taxi or private hire vehicle (PHV) licensed in Greater Manchester would be sure that the vehicle and driver have been checked to a high standard.

Customers would also be satisfied that, as far as possible, any Greater Manchester-licensed operator that they book a journey with will hold their information safely and that it won't be misused.

For drivers, the proposals include:

  • Common standards on criminal record checks; medical examinations; a local knowledge test; English language proficiency; driver training; driving proficiency; and dress code.

For vehicles, the proposals include:

  • Vehicle emissions; age; colour (black for taxi/hackney, white for PHV); livery (common Greater Manchester design with council logo incorporated); accessibility (all taxis to be wheelchair accessible); vehicle testing and design and licensing requirements; and CCTV.

For operators the proposals include:

  • Basic criminal record checks for operators' staff; more stringent requirements in relation to booking records; and for operators to take more responsibility for the behaviour of their drivers.

For local authorities the proposals include:

  • Developing a common enforcement approach and a framework to which licensing fees are set; and councillors to receive training before they hear applications.

We're also proposing a step-by-step pathway to reducing harmful emissions, with the aim of an entirely zero-emission taxi/PHV fleet across Greater Manchester by 2029.

Next steps

There will be an eight-week public consultation on Minimum Licensing Standards proposals beginning on Thursday 8 October 2020. This will run at the same time as a consultation on the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan proposals.

This consultation will be the first consultation of its kind and everyone, including taxi and private hire drivers and operators, will be able to give their views.

Following the consultation and review of feedback, the agreed standards, and the timelines for their implementation, will be confirmed. This will ensure taxis and private hires continue to play an important role in Greater Manchester’s plans for a fully joined up and environmentally friendly transport system.

For more details on the proposed standards, please read this briefing note.

If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact your local authority’s taxi and private hire licensing team.

What about out of town private hire?

Current legislation means that some private hire drivers and vehicles which operate in Greater Manchester are licensed by councils from other areas in England and Wales.

That means we can't currently guarantee a high standard of service from 'out of town' drivers.

We're working with partners from across the UK who share our concerns to ask government to consider changing the law.

We want the law to help us make sure that anyone who drives or operates a taxi or PHV in Greater Manchester meets high safety standards and is licenced in our city-region.

Please check back to find out about progress.

This page was last updated on 2 October 2020

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