Regulation Round-up: The Taxi Centre June Monthly Update
The Taxi Centre monthly regulation round-up keeps you updated with the latest council regulations and updates that you need to know about in your area.
Bradford – Licenses Revoked Following Operation
A recent police operation in the Bradford area resulted in three cab drivers losing their licenses.
Neighbourhood Policing Teams and Operation Steerside officers carried out Operation ‘Let’s Go Bowling’ which penalised 32 motorists. The operation was carried out following concerns from the local community about unsafe roads and motoring offences.
Taking place on 12th May in the Bradford areas of Bowling and Barkerend, the operation set out to make the roads safer for all users.
Calderdale – Changes to English Qualifications Announced
The Telegraph reported that councillors in Calderdale have announced plans to accept a wider English qualification for new taxi and private hire license applications.
Full plans set out that Calderdale City Council will continue to request an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Entry Level 3 English test for all new applications to implement a consistent approach across West Yorkshire authorities.
However, an English taught qualification of Level 1 or above will now also be accepted. The policy review was recommended following guidance by the Department for Transport and agreed at the final meeting of the full Calderdale Council before the May local elections.
Chelmsford - Taxis Must Offer Card Payments
Chelmsford City Council has announced that new legislation has been passed surrounding card payments and all taxi drivers must now offer card payments to be licensed on the roads.
The new requirement was announced by the council in April and came into effect that month in a bid to make the streets safer and improve services in the city.
All taxis must now display a sticker to confirm they can accept both cash and card payments and the regulation will also apply to taxis bidding to the renew their license.
A council spokeperson said: “For anyone needing a cab, finding they have no cash to get home can be a distressing experience. Taking electronic payment is an essential step in reducing risk for people out and about, especially at night.
“The licensing team has been working with taxi drivers to continuously improve the great service they provide.”
East Suffolk – Consultation Begins on Taxi Fuel Surcharge
Local drivers’ pleas to add a 60p fuel charge to all Hackney Carriage journeys have been rejected by councillors.
Suffolk News reported that a group of nine Felixstowe drivers recommended a 60p fuel surcharge be added to all journeys for 12 months to help tackle the rising costs of fuel.
However, East Sussex Council’s Licensing Committee rejected the pleas at a meeting on April 11, noting that a consultation with cab drivers across the whole of the district would be needed first.
Not all was lost, with the committee voting to introduce a 20p surcharge on all journeys for three months, after the whole district has been consulted.
The results of the two-week consultation period are set to be announced at the committee’s next meeting in July and will determine whether the 20p surcharge is introduced.
East Sussex – Taxi Drivers Offered Suicide Prevention Training
Life-saving suicide intervention and prevention training is now being offered to all taxi drivers in the Eastbourne and Seaford area.
The free Taxi Watch programme is ran by Talk to Tom, a suicide prevention and awareness charity, and aims to teach drivers the key signs of a person suffering through a suicide crisis, how to react, as well as how to get the person to safety.
Ray Cullen, CEO of Talk to Tom, said: “We are delighted to be bringing this award-winning and life-saving programme to the people of East Sussex.
“The key is early recognition and early access. This is why Taxi Watch is so important. In a suicide crisis, there will always be subtle signs that a person is in distress, so it’s vital for drivers to learn the skills necessary to spot these signs.”
Harrogate – Drivers' Fury at Penalty Points Scheme
Harrogate Borough Council put forward new plans in April to the Department for Transport which would see taxi drivers lose their license if they receive seven or more penalty points.
However, local drivers have hit out at the plans and argue that they are too harsh and will result in a further loss of drivers, exacerbating the current staff shortages.
The new proposed regulations also state that drivers must keep taxi plates on their vehicles at all times and attend compulsory training courses.
If the new plans are approved, drivers will still be able to argue in favour of why their license shouldn’t be revoked.
Hull - Weekend Taxi Marshal Scheme Extended
A weekend taxi marshal scheme that has been running for a year in Hull city centre has been extended, after funding was signed off at this year’s council budget setting meeting.
The Hull Daily Mail reported in April that the scheme will remain in place to help manage taxi queues and ensure that passengers feel safe when leaving the city at night. Taxi marshals will be present at Paragon Interchange, Lowgate, and Alfred Gelder street ranks until closing time on Friday and Saturday nights.
The scheme is part of the Safer Hull partnership with Humberside Police and the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Humberside and is funded by Hull City Council.
Leicester – Taxi Strategy Announced
Leicester City Council has announced a new Taxi Strategy, setting out a series of improvements which will be brought into effect between now and 2025, in a bid to make taxi travel easier and safer.
The strategy aims to improve customer service, safety, ensuring the trade is regulated and supported by the city council, and a commitment to increase low-emission taxis on the roads. As part of the strategy, Leicester City Council is also tightening regulations around drivers who operate in the Leicester area but are registered elsewhere.
A number of measures will come into effect immediately, whereas some longer-term improvements will be introduced in the future after undergoing public consultations.
North East Lincolnshire – Council Carry Out Roadside Spot Checks
Officers from North East Lincolnshire Council licensing team carried out a number of roadside spot-checks on local taxi and private hire vehicles throughout May.
The Grimsby Telegraph reported that 29 random inspections took place across the borough, with checks carried out on both vehicles and drivers. A number of issues were found including:
- Two drivers without ID badges
- A vehicle not displaying a ‘no smoking’ sticker which is a taxi requirement
- A vehicle displaying CCTV stickers which had no approval to use CCTV
However, overall it was noted that the majority of drivers were upholding standards with only a number of minor issues found.
South Kesteven – Vehicle Age Limits Reconsidered
Taxi drivers in South Kesteven have hit out at council requirements that require vehicles to be less than five years old when they are first registered as taxis in a bid to cut emissions.
The district council is looking into the possibility of relaxing the rules after drivers voiced concerns that newer vehicles will double costs and put local firms at risk.
New requirements for vehicles to be less than five years old were only brought into force in April 2021, however they may be reversed due to the financial impact on the industry.
Previous regulations stated that vehicles must be less than seven years old when first registered.
South Staffordshire – Taxi Licensing Handed to Wolverhampton
South Staffordshire councillors have given the green light to hand over taxi licensing services to Wolverhampton authority to save money.
Over recent years, South Staffordshire Council have seen a decrease in the income it receives from taxi licensing services and will delegate functions including license application processing and renewals to City of Wolverhampton Council.
The Express reports that the move will initially be for three-years and will help reduce costs for both the trade and the council. It will also create online application facilities and improve the choice of garages and medical practitioners for taxi businesses.
Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled on our newsroom for July’s regulation round-up.