The move comes against a background of concern that vehicles with fewer than nine passenger seats which may be driven by the holder of an ordinary car driving licence are being used in the same way as private hire, but without the checks on drivers' criminal records and medical fitness that a local authority would usually make for the issue of a private hire vehicle drivers' licence.
The Government wants to bring legislation governing the use of this type of vehicle into line with that of larger PSVs and taxis. The announcement was made by transport minister Glenda Jackson in the House of Commons. Traffic commissioners would require health and criminal record checks as a condition of a public service vehicle operator's licence. The law only applies to those who charge for carrying passengers.
A consultation period with the industry is expected to start in the next couple of weeks and the Government will be guided on the pricing levels and the medical checks involved. It has been made clear the PSV operator/driver will have to pay for the checks.