11th REPUBLICAN PARLIAMENT: 2nd SESSION

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The Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions)(No.2) Bill, 2011

19 Mar 2012

Regulations for PH Drivers and private school transport…..


The Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions)(No.2) Bill, 2011

The House of Representatives will soon begin debate on The Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions) (No. 2) Bill, 2011.

The full text of the Bill is available in PDF format on this website, you can download it via this link . You may also place your comments directly on this Bill page, which can be accessed here.

The following is a brief explanation of some aspects of the Bill 

House of Representatives Bill 22 of 2011 will amend the following Acts: 
  • Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act, Chap. 48:50 
  • Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic (Enforcement and Administration) Act, Chap. 48:52.

Background

Private Hire ‘PH’ transportation has become a primary mode of transportation in Trinidad and Tobago. ‘PH’ taxis provide an important service for the general public particularly in areas or along routes that are not serviced by Public Transportation vehicles or registered taxis. The use of private school buses has increased over time due to safety concerns by parents who are unable to transport their children to school themselves. It is also a convenient service in instances where a parent’s place of employment is in a different geographical area from their child’s school. These have also provided employment to many citizens.
Due to the increase in crime a regulatory framework for ‘PH’ vehicles has been considered a necessary step towards legitimizing and regulating these two forms of transportation. Regulating private hire motor vehicles will provide passengers with a sense of reliance and safety. 

What is the purpose of the Bill? 

The Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions)(No.2) Bill, 2011 seeks primarily to regulate the operation of private motor cars utilized as a mode of transport  for  passengers and school children.
 

What are the key features of this proposed legislation?

  • Regulation the operation of  private hire (‘PH’) drivers
  • Section 18 of the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Chap. 48:50 on Registration on change of use will exempt a private motor vehicle from the requirement of reregistration
  • Regulation of the operation of private school buses used for the purpose of transporting school children 
  • Submission of a medical certificate for the elderly for the issue or renewal of driver’s permit from age 70  and onwards to indicate that his vision, hearing and bodily and mental fitness are intact  to warrant the issue of a driving permit
  • Increase of the age at which a person is required to provide a medical certificate for the issue or renewal of drivers permits from 65 years to 70 years 
  • Exemption from paying a fee for renewal of driver’s permit  from age 70
  • Minister is empowered to extend by Order the validity of driving permits in circumstances of natural disaster, emergency or other unforeseen circumstances
  • Minister empowered to make regulations for the operation of private hire motor vehicles and private school buses.
  • Empowers a Police Officer to issue a fixed penalty ticket of $1000 to a person operating a private school bus without a valid private school bus license or a private hire motor car without a valid PH driver licence. 

Issues for consideration 

  • Is the Licensing Authority adequately staffed with manpower, technology to handle registration of PH drivers?
  • Has any consideration been given to the implementation of quality and safety regulations such as the mandatory inspections of private hire vehicles?
  • In the United Kingdom, applicants of Private hire motor vehicles  and PH driver’s licence  would apply for an Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau check as a requirement, therefore a detailed security background check should be done for applicants in  Trinidad and Tobago
  • Will proper (well lit, with signs) taxi hubs be designated to control the ad-hoc nature of the current system?
  • Has proper research been conducted to evaluate the possibility of a fare regulation or mandatory maximum fare as a condition of the registration of PH taxi drivers?
  • A detailed list of requirements should be provided by the Licensing Authority in consideration for a private school bus driver’s licence and PH driver’s licence including criminal record, medical examination and road worthiness of vehicles to be licensed.
  • Persons accused or convicted of sexual offences should not be allowed to apply for a PH driver’s licence and/or private school bus driver’s licence
  • There is need for Educational Outreach programmes in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) and Members of the Public to provide information on the Act and its implications
  • Have Insurance companies been consulted with respect to the insurance of such vehicles to cover passengers and how will the licensing of private hire vehicles affect existing Insurance laws?
  • Will private hire taxis be restricted from plying routes which are currently serviced by registered taxis and maxi taxis given the stringent rules regulating their licensing process?