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.
Covid 19 - The impact of the Coronavirus (COVID -19) continues to affect hire car licensing schemes. Please consult the hire car webpages or Scottish Government website for information on any covid restrictions which may impact on services offered by hire car licence holders.
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 can be referred to the Taxi Examination Centre (TEC) for investigation. However, 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.
Complaints where an offence has been committed can still be forwarded on to TEC and will be monitored until the Police Scotland investigation is concluded, in the event where no action is taken by Police Scotland the detail of the complaint can still be considered from a licensing perspective.
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 to the Licensing Committee,
The Licensing Committee has power to suspend or revoke 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.
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)
Complaints regarding unlicensed vehicles or drivers should be made to Police Scotland by calling 101.