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Views sought on proposed changes to taxi policy

Published September 11, 2020 11.24am

Residents, businesses and visitors are invited to share their views on a review of the policy relating to hackney carriages and private hire vehicles, drivers and operators licensed by us.

We have launched a public consultation over proposed changes to the way vehicles, drivers and operators are licensed.

Our key aims in what we are proposing are to ensure the safety and welfare of the public and encourage environmental sustainability.

Our current Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy was formally adopted in 2016 and was then amended in 2018. We review this policy at least every five years and make changes at other times where necessary.

Further information and a questionnaire are available online at the review web page.

The purpose of the policy is to explain how we undertake our functions in relation to hackney carriage and private hire licensing. Its primary focus is on safeguarding and public protection.

We are looking to revise the policy in line with the Department for Transport's recently published 'Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards'. The department expects its recommendations to be implemented unless there is a compelling reason not to do so.

Several possible changes to policy are being put forward for consideration. The main changes that concern licensed vehicles, drivers and operators include:

  • The implementation of the requirements of the new national standards for taxi and private hire licensing
  • A new policy on vehicle emissions and the age of licensed vehicles
  • A new policy in respect of previous convictions and offences
  • A new policy on drug and alcohol testing
  • Changes to the suspension and revocation of driver licences
  • Requirement of refresher training on child sexual exploitation every three years
  • All applicants for a vehicle licence must undergo a basic Disclosure and Barring Service check
  • All drivers to be trained in disability awareness
  • Additional conditions for private hire operators

In addition, we are also consulting on the use of in-vehicle visual and audio recording via CCTV technology.

Joanne Waller, our head of community protection, said: "Our taxi policy aims to help drivers by setting out guidance on how they should operate while also including measures which seek to ensure the public is safeguarded and protected.

"The changes we are proposing are to make are designed to reflect the Department for Transport's recommendations and as well as ensuring the safety and welfare of the public, we are also hoping that the revisions we have put forward will encourage environmental sustainability.

"We encourage everyone to let us know their views and all comments will be given careful consideration before an amended policy is agreed."

The consultation runs until midnight on Sunday 29 November 2020.

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