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 Anthony Browne Anthony Browne Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) 2:45, 19 Mawrth 2024

I reiterate what I said earlier: accessibility is incredibly important. That is the whole point of this legislation and why it contains clause 87. We already have the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee, which we consult on these matters. We have agreed to set up an accessibility panel of groups for automated passenger services. We have already met some disability groups—Guide Dogs UK was consulted by the Law Commission during the development of the legislation—so groups representing disabled people have been and will continue to be heavily involved.

Our concern is to ensure that we do not create a system that is too rigid, with inappropriate requirements that do not actually work in the best interests of people with accessibility needs. As the hon. Member for Wakefield said, we do not know quite how the commercial offerings will evolve, which is why we need to ensure that we are flexible. That is why the Law Commission stated explicitly that our focus at this stage should be on gathering evidence and facilitating learning.

Clause 87 requires that the accessibility needs of older and disabled passengers must be considered before a permit is issued by the permitting authorities. It also requires that specific consideration be given to whether the service is likely to improve the understanding of how to meet the needs of older and disabled users. Permit holders are then required to publish reports on the steps taken to provide accessible services. All this information will feed back into permit conditions, allowing us to set the right accessibility requirements in the right context for the benefit of learning from real-world use cases.