Taxi and Private Hire Cars

Ensure Taxi and Private Hire Cars (PHCs) are available across Scotland and meet the needs of disabled people

The Scottish Government first published its Taxi and Private Hire Car Licensing Best Practice for Licensing Authorities in December 2007. The guidance set out to offer best practice advice to licensing authorities on a range of issues relating to the licensing of taxis, private hire cars and their drivers. The most recent iteration of that guidance was published in 2012.

Taxis and private hire cars are licensed under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982. The aim of the licensing regime is to ensure that taxi and private hire car customers have a safe, reliable and accessible service. The Scottish Government has responsibility for the overarching legislation.  The day to day administration of the licensing regime for taxis and private hire cars is devolved to independent licensing authorities who are responsible for implementing the provisions of the Equality Act 2010 that seek to protect disabled people from discriminatory treatment, and which sought inclusion of wheelchair accessible vehicles in each Local Authority area.

Transport Scotland’s transport statistics from 2020 confirm that there are a total of 23,900 Taxi and Private Hire cars in operation across Scotland. Of those 23% (5,506) are wheelchair accessible.

Taxi’s and private hire companies have been at the heart of a number of local initiatives throughout the pandemic, providing support in delivering food and essential services as well as offering free, or discounted transport provision, to disabled and older passengers accessing essential journeys, including access to Covid-19 vaccination centres. However, there is fear amongst disabled people that taxi services may be disappearing in rural areas due to financial constraints and the lack of available accessible taxis.

Key actions for 2021-2022

In order to fulfil this objective Transport Scotland will:

  • Undertake work with Local Authorities to understand the provision (and variance) of accessible vehicles currently in operation in Scotland and the level of disability awareness training being carried out by taxi and private hire car operators.
  • Produce a short document reminding Licensing Authorities of their duties within the 2017 Statutory Guidance from DfT. and why it is important that they adhere to these requirements.
  • Work with local authorities and MACS to develop a good practice guide for Local Authorities and taxi operators to ensure the provision of taxis and private hire cars meet the needs of disabled people.
  • We will work closely with the Department for Transport (DfT) as they launch their consultation on taxis and private hire companies which will seek to significantly strengthen the accessibility guidance currently in place
  • Ensure information on taxi and private hire cars is made available on the Accessible Travel Hub