Dr Nick Malleson

School of Geography

How the Deregulation Act (2015) impacts on public safety in the national taxi licensing environment

Knowledge Exchange Fellowship


Historically, Licensed Taxi & Private Hire drivers are only allowed to undertake bookings in the area in which they are licensed (e.g. Leeds). However, the Deregulation Act (2015) enables them, using smart technology, to ply for hire in areas where they are not licensed. Licensing Authorities feel there has been a misinterpretation of the act, now exploited by some Private Hire Companies, which in practice operates akin to a national licensing system that enables drivers to work anywhere in England & Wales regardless of where they have been licensed. The Act has several serious implications, namely:

  • there is no national register of Licensed Taxi & Private Hire drivers, meaning that drivers who are not considered to be “fit and proper” in Leeds can register elsewhere and continue to operate in leeds;
  • Licensing regulations vary across regions so it is possible for someone to choose to apply for a license in an area with less rigorous procedures and thresholds than others, but then choose to work anywhere; the process for reporting inappropriate, dangerous, and/or criminal behaviour becomes confused.

The potential implication is that passengers are at a greater risk from drivers who are not under the same level of scrutiny as they would have been prior to the Deregulation Act.