Ministry of Works and Transport drafts proposal for regularisation of “PH” taxis

The Ministry of Works and Transport of Trinidad and Tobago recently issued the “Proposed Draft Regulations for Establishing a Regulatory Framework for the Efficient and Safe Operations of Private-Hired Vehicles in Trinidad and Tobago” which intends to regularise the “PH” taxi situation. It notes that the Ministry has taken into consideration the lack of public transport in rural areas especially late at night and easy mornings and as such is drafting the necessary legislation to make the now underground service legitimate and thus more safe.

In doing so it paves the way for ride sharing and taxi service apps like Drop, WiRide and international services like Uber and Lyft to operate without their drivers being charged for using their private vehicles for hire. It also means that all vehicles used as “PH” (private-hire) taxis must undergo the same inspections and requirements for registered “H” (hired) taxis as listed below.

The Ministry wishes to reconfirm its confidence in the Public Transport Service Corporation, the maxi-taxis and taxi services in Trinidad and Tobago. The Ministry intends to pursue aggressively urgent policies that will assist “PH” taxi drivers to undergo a seamless and efficient registration process so that they can ply their service under the aegis of a taxi driver’s licence, in keeping with the passenger protections thereof.

In this regard, the Ministry places the following proposed Draft Regulations in the public domain for comments from all stakeholders and concerned citizens:

Proposed Draft Regulations for Private Hired Vehicles in
Trinidad and Tobago
(1) Subject to the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act 48:50 (when amended accordingly), the Licensing Authority may on the receipt of an application from the owner of a private registered motor vehicle, grant, in respect of such vehicle, a licence for the purpose of using the vehicle as a private hire motor vehicle to operate within a restricted area in Trinidad and Tobago.
Provided that the Licensing Authority shall not grant such a licence unless it is satisfied of the following:-

(a) That the vehicle is :-
(i) Suitable in type, size and design for use as a private hire vehicle;
(ii) Not of such design and appearance as to lead any person to believe that the vehicle is a hired taxi or maxi taxi;
(iii) In a suitable mechanical condition;
(iv) Safe; and
(v) Comfortable; and
(b) that there is in force, in relation to the use of the vehicle, a policy of insurance or such security as complies with the requirements of the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic (Third Party) Act.

(2) The Licensing Authority may attach to the grant of a licence under this section such conditions as they may consider reasonably necessary including, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provisions of this subsection, conditions requiring or prohibiting the display of signs on or from the vehicle to which the licence relates;

(3) In every vehicle licence granted under this section there shall be specified—
(a) the name and address of—
(i) the applicant; and
(ii) every other person who is a proprietor of the private hire vehicle in respect of which the licence is granted, or who is concerned, either solely or in partnership with any other person, in the keeping, employing or letting on hire of the private hire vehicle;
(b) the number of the licence which shall correspond with the number to be painted or marked on the plate to be exhibited on the private hire vehicle in accordance with regulation 7 of the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Regulations Chapter 48:50;
(c) the conditions attached to the grant of the licence; and
(d) such other particulars as the Licensing Authority consider reasonably necessary.

(4) Every licence granted under this section shall—
(a) be signed by the Transport Commissioner ONLY;
(b) relate to not more than one private hire vehicle; and
(c) remain in force for such period not being longer than one year as the Licensing Authority may specify in the licence.

(5) Where the Licensing Authority grants under this section a vehicle licence in respect of a private hire vehicle, it may issue a special licence plate identifying that vehicle as a private hire vehicle in respect of which a vehicle licence has been granted.

(6) (a) Subject to the provisions of the Act, no person shall use or permit to be used in a controlled district a private hire vehicle in respect of which a licence has been granted under this section, unless the licence issued is exhibited on the vehicle in such manner as the Licensing Authority shall prescribe by condition attached to the grant of the said licence.
(b) If any person without reasonable excuse contravenes the provisions of this subsection he shall be guilty of an offence and liable to fine and imprisonment together with revocation of his driver’s permit and PH licence.

You can read the full press release here: