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TfL to formalise licensing process for motorcycles used as Private Hire Vehicles

15/02/2013

TfL press release.

· Decision follows guidance from the Department for Transport

· Stringent additional requirements to be introduced for operators and riders

Transport for London (TfL) has today announced that it is to formalise the licensing process for motorcycles used as Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs) in the capital.

The decision follows the publication of guidance by the Department for Transport (DfT) last year, which urged licensing authorities to license as wide a range of vehicles as possible, as long as they meet safety requirements. The DfT went on to state that the licensing of motorcycles as PHVs cannot be ruled out on safety grounds.

TfL considered the DfT guidance and re-examined responses to a consultation on the subject that it held in 2009. A decision was then made to fully include motorcycle PHVs within the licensing regime.

Currently there are three private hire operators (with 12 motorcycles) in the capital that offer motorcycle PHV services. These are currently licensed on temporary permits which have been re-issued as the motorcycles have been replaced. The temporary permits were part of transitional arrangements put in place in 2003 as part of the introduction of licensing of the private hire trade. The temporary permits still require operators and riders of motorcycle PHVs to meet the same stringent licensing requirements as the rest of the private hire trade.

Now that a decision has been made to formalise the licensing process, the relevant regulations will be changed to allow the licensing of motorcycle PHVs. Additional licensing requirements will also be imposed on both operators and motorcycle PHV riders to ensure that safety standards are maintained.

The specific requirements will include:

· Only two-wheeled motorcycles will be licensed – with a minimum engine size (to ensure a large, stable vehicle), anti-lock brakes and capability to carry passengers with luggage. Three-wheeled or four-wheeled motorcycles will not be licensed; · Motorcycle PHVs must be no more than two years old at first licensing and will not be re-licensed when they are over five years old, to ensure that the vehicles are modern and in good condition; · Riders must have an advanced rider qualification and demonstrate experience in riding motorcycles; · Operators will be required to provide suitable safety equipment for the passenger including a properly-fitting helmet with intercom between driver and passenger; · Operators and riders must ensure there is no reason why the passenger cannot be safely carried (because of impairments, age, weight, luggage, use of alcohol or drugs, or any other reason) and be able to offer alternative transport if needed; and · Motorcycle PHVs, like other PHVs, must be booked before the journey commences and cannot ply for hire.

Other licensing requirements and processes will be similar to those for PHV cars.

Existing licensed private hire drivers or operators who want to introduce new motorcycle PHVs services will have to meet the additional criteria and apply for variations to their licences.

The intention is to have the new licensing regime in place by early 2014. TfL will now engage with relevant stakeholders and work to introduce the new licensing regime.

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