Clause 85 - Consent requirement for services resembling taxis or private hire vehicles

Part of Automated Vehicles Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:45 pm ar 19 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Llafur, Easington 2:45, 19 Mawrth 2024

I agree with that; I do not have a problem with it. However, one of the issues raised this morning, which the Minister indicated was outside the scope of the Bill but in hand, related to licensing schemes for non-road vehicles such as delivery robots. I believe they operate in the Minister’s local area, and they certainly operate in Milton Keynes. They are very popular, but we are talking about people with disabilities. As the robots are more widely deployed, there is a risk of them causing obstruction or injury if the Government do not address the issue. I know that is outside the scope of the Bill, but I want to flag it, because it is one of the issues that disability groups including the Royal National Institute of Blind People have raised with us.

There are several different scenarios in relation to new clause 2 in which autonomous vehicles can be used—from operating similarly to a taxi, which is what clause 85 is about, to operating a shared service such as a bus. In both cases, information concerning delays or diversions, when the passengers may wish to continue journeys or stop at alternative destinations, must be presented in an accessible format. On that, I support my hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield, who made precisely the same points.

Normally there are a number of assessments with the explanatory notes. Has there been a disability impact assessment of the Bill’s implications? Have I missed that? Is this another occasion on which the Minister might indulge the Committee with an undertaking or an assurance that the issues relating to providing information to passengers, particularly those with disabilities and sight impairment, have not been forgotten by Government? Does he agree that people with disabilities should not be disadvantaged or excluded from this exciting new technology?