Chapter 9 - FLEXIBLE TRANSPORT SERVICES
9.1. It is possible for taxis and private hire cars to provide flexible transport services in a number of different ways. Such services can play a valuable role in meeting a range of transport needs, especially in rural areas - though potentially in many other places as well.
9.2. Local licensing authorities are encouraged, as a matter of best practice, to play their part in promoting flexible services, so as to increase the availability of transport to the travelling public. This can be done partly by drawing the possibilities to the attention of the taxi and private hire car trade.
9.3. The main legal provisions under which flexible services can be operated are:
- Taxibuses (section 12, Transport Act 1985): Owners of licensed taxis can apply to the Area Traffic Commissioner for a special restricted public service vehicle operator licence. The taxi owner can then use the vehicle to run a bus service for up to eight passengers. The route must be registered with the Traffic Commissioner and must have at least one stopping place in the area of the local authority that licensed the taxi, though it can go beyond it. The bus service will be eligible for Bus Service Operators Grant (subject to certain conditions) and taxibuses can be used for local authority subsidised bus services. The travelling public have another transport opportunity opened for them, and taxi owners have another business opportunity.
- Private Hire Cars - local bus services (Section 53, Local Transport Act 2008): Owners of licensed private hire cars may apply to the Area Traffic Commissioner for a special licence to run a local bus service for up to eight passengers. The service as with taxibuses will be eligible for Bus Service Operators Grant (subject to certain conditions). Further information on applying for a special restricted public service vehicle license can be found on the Business Link website (www.businesslink.gov.uk).
- Shared Taxis/private hire cars (Section 14, Transport Act 1985 ): Powers under this section relate to the carriage of passengers in taxis and private hire cars at separate fares. Further guidance on such arrangements is contained in paragraph 9 and Annex C of Scottish Development Department Circular 25/1986.
Email: Joanna Mackenzie