Hire Car Enforcement
Enforcement of hire car vehicles and drivers licensed in West Lothian is currently undertaken by the Taxi Examination Centre (TEC) and West Lothian Councils' Licensing Standards Officer (LSO). In addition, assistance is given from time to time by local Roads Policing officers.
The Taxi Examination Centre (TEC) carry out regular unannounced enforcement visits to West Lothian sometimes during office hours but more often at busy weekend periods. Vehicles are examined at taxi ranks and places where private hire cars are known to congregate. Any vehicles found to be unsafe are issued with a notice preventing them from being used as hire cars until the defect(s) have been rectified to the satisfaction of the Senior Vehicle Examiner at the TEC. Vehicles with minor defects are permitted to continue working but are issued with documentation requiring the defects to be rectified and the vehicle presented to the TEC within a certain period.
Complaints regarding taxi or private hire vehicles and drivers may be made to the Licensing Team. These must be in writing either by letter or email and give all the information you can about the driver or the vehicle. Please include brief details of the complaint giving the date, time and location of the incident.
Complaints cannot be investigated unless received in the required format.
All complaints which are received in writing, either by letter or email are referred to the TEC for investigation. If your complaint involves an allegation that the licence holder has committed an offence you must report this first to Police Scotland by calling 101 or attending at a police station. Once you have a crime reference number you should make your complaint to the Licensing Team and include the crime reference number.
If there is sufficient evidence against them licence holders reported for minor breaches of their licensing conditions may be issued with a warning letter from the Chief Solicitor instead of being reported to committee. If the licence holder disputes the factual circumstances referred to in the warning letter they have an opportunity to request a hearing before committee. Only one warning letter is issued to a particular licence holder within a three year period and any future breaches within twelve months of a warning letter may result in a report to committee which makes reference to the earlier warning.
Warning letters have been issued for the following reasons;
- Private Hire Cars parked in public places (if not waiting for a pre booked hire)
- Drivers smoking within vehicles
- Vehicle defects such as bald tyres and defective lights
- Taxis parking adjacent to or on a taxi rank
- Failing to carry insurance/ID badge
- Inappropriate conduct by drivers
Serious breaches of licensing conditions or the criminal law are not dealt with by a warning letter and licence holders alleged to have committed such breaches will be reported t to the Licensing Committee,
The Licensing Committee has power to suspend both vehicle and driver's licences in a number of circumstances including - breach of licensing conditions; if the licence holders conduct demonstrates that they are no longer a fit and proper person to hold a licence; or where the licence holder's licensed activity has caused or is causing a threat to public order or public safety.
Suspensions may be imposed following a committee hearing for the unexpired portion of the licence or such shorter period as the Committee deems appropriate. Information regarding committee hearings is available from Committee Services on 01506 281621.
The Committee has power to order that some suspensions will take effect immediately. Otherwise the licence holder has a right of appeal to the Sheriff Court within 28 days and, if an appeal is lodged within that period, the suspension does not take effect until the appeal has been determined.
Licences have been suspended in the following circumstances
- failed driver medical (suspended until certified fit to drive)
- failure to attend a driver medical (suspended until certified fit to drive)
- using an unlicensed vehicle (suspended for the unexpired portion)
- refusal to carry a passenger with a guide dog (6 month suspension)
- smoking within a hire car following a previous warning (one month suspension)
- smoking in a hire car (1 week suspension)
- failure to intimate convictions
- operating a vehicle with multiple defects (various periods)
- failing to report convictions (1 week suspension)
- allegations regarding serious criminal offences (suspension for the remainder of licence)
- taxis ranking adjacent to a full rank (one week suspension)
- failure to disclose convictions (immediate suspension for remainder of licence)
- inappropriate behaviour whilst carrying a passenger (3 month suspension)
- PHC undertaking an unbooked hire (1 week suspension)
- operating a PHC with multiple defects (3 month suspension)
On 18 June 2020 the Scottish Government announced that from 22 June 2020 the wearing of face coverings when using public transport is mandatory. This includes taxis and private hire vehicles and includes all drivers and passengers.
In relation to this all hire car drivers and operators should note the following guidance issued by the Scottish Government:
Specific exemptions provide that certain categories of people are not required to wear a face covering. This includes children under five years of age, a constable or an emergency responder acting in the course of their duty. Staff such as drivers who are physically separated, by means of, for example, screens, from other staff and passengers are also exempt from wearing face coverings. An illustrative example of this might be a driver of a vehicle behind a Perspex screen in a taxi.
You may also have a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering if, for example:
- you have a health condition where a face covering would be inappropriate because it would cause difficulty, pain or severe distress or anxiety or because you cannot apply a covering and wear it in the proper manner safely and consistently.
- you have a reasonable need to eat or drink
- you need to take medication
- you need to communicate with someone else who relies on lip reading
- a relevant person, such as a police officer, asks you to remove your face covering
You must provide your own face covering when travelling on public transport. A face covering is a facial covering of the mouth and nose, that is made of cloth or other textiles and through which you can breathe, for example a scarf. You may also use if you prefer a face visor but it must cover your nose and mouth completely. It is most important that what you wear is comfortable when it is being worn.
Religious face coverings that cover the mouth and the nose count as face coverings for these regulations.
When applying or removing the covering, it is important that you wash your hands first and avoid touching your face. After each use, you must wash a fabric face covering at 60 degrees centigrade or dispose of it safely.
In addition to having to wear a face covering on public transport we strongly recommend that you wear a face covering in other enclosed environments, such as shops, as a precautionary measure to stop the spread of the virus."
Further information is also available from Transport Scotland Face Coverings on Public Transport
Please consult the link below to the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 which affect the operation of taxis and private hire cars during the current lockdown:
Complaints regarding unlicensed vehicles or drivers should be made to Police Scotland by calling 101.