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What's new in taxi/private hire licensing?
Taxi Safe ‘Get home safe tonight’ Christmas campaign
East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Licensing Team are putting plans in place to keep customers and drivers safe and urging festive party-goers to make sure they plan ahead and only use legitimate and licensed taxis.
The Licensing Team are warning people to keep safe but be wary of bogus taxi drivers as they head out to celebrate over the festive period.
During the festive season, the Licensing Team receives an increase in reports of bogus vehicles purporting to be legitimate taxi services. With potentially hundreds of Christmas parties taking place, anyone who travels by taxi should make sure it is a licensed taxi service or private hire car before they make their journey.
The Licensing Team has issued the following important information and advice for people using taxis or private hire vehicles:
Proposed licence fees for 2023/2024
In line with practice from previous years, we are making you aware of the small increase in our licence fees, full details of which can be found on the Council’s website at the following link. These fees will come into effect from 1 April 2023. The fees will also be published in local newspapers.
The revised fees include some small increases, for example, a renewal driver licence will rise by £10 a year for a 3-year licence. (Less than 20p a week). Additional duties have come into place over the last year for example 6 monthly DBS checks and tax conditionality checks, which raise the costs slightly. There is no proposed increase on a number of the fees set to support the trade at this time.
Any objections to the fees should be received by 7 January 2023 setting out the full reason for the objection and made in writing to Louise Wilson, Health, Safety and Licensing Manager, by email at email@example.com.
Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Best Practice Guidance
The Department of Transport (DfT) has issued best practice guidance on taxi and private hire vehicle licensing since 2006 to assist local authorities that have responsibility for the regulation of this sector. This has recently been updated to take into account stakeholder views and changes in the way the sector operates. DfT is seeking views from the public, licensing authorities, and the taxi and PHV industry on the proposed updated version.
More information is available on Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Best Practice Guidance.
The consultation period began on 28 March 2022 and ran until 11:45pm on Monday 20 June 2022.
Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy Changes
A new hackney carriage and private hire licensing services policy has been approved and became effective on 1 April 2022. Changes to the policy include the following:
A copy of the new policy can be found below:
If you have any queries regarding any of the changes, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tax conditionality - new rules that affect all drivers and private hire operators
From Monday 4 April 2022 you will need to complete a tax check before you apply to renew a licence in England and Wales.
If you do not complete a tax check we will be unable to consider your application to renew your licence and your current licence may expire.
We advise you to read this information:
Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Drivers - NVQ Level 2 Qualification requirement
Due to the current difficulties being faced by new drivers in enrolling and completing NVQ qualifications due to COVID-19, the decision has been made to suspend the requirement for newly licensed drivers to undertake and complete a Level 2 NVQ Qualification (or similar) in Road Passenger Vehicle Driving (Private Hire and Taxi) at this time in order to assist the trade. Where individuals have already successfully enrolled and started courses, it is recommended that these courses are completed if and when drivers are able to do so, however, it will no longer be a requirement for proof of this qualification to be submitted in order for a provisional 12-month licence to be renewed.
Drivers will still be required to complete training and, in line with the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Services licensing policy, the council will be looking to develop and roll out an East Riding of Yorkshire Council bespoke training programme later in 2020 which will be aimed at encompassing all the requirements and expectations of drivers licensed with the council and ensuring these are fully understood by those new to the trade.
If you have any queries in relation to this, please email email@example.com.
Vehicle licences go electronic
All vehicle and driver licences will now be issued to you by email, once received please ensure you save the attached licence and note its date of expiry on your calendar.
The licence can now be produced on request for inspection in two different ways, you can print off a copy and keep this in your vehicle or you can download the licence and save this on your smartphone for viewing on request.
Appeal case outcome - Wendy's Wheels, Bridlington
The private hire operator licence held by Ms W. Jackson and Ms A. Noble for Wendy's Wheels, Bridlington and the hackney carriage driver's licence for Ms W. Jackson were revoked by the licensing committee on the 6 March 2017, following the committee's determination that Ms Jackson was not a 'fit and proper' person to hold such licences.
An appeal was lodged to Beverley Magistrates Court against both revocations and the matter was heard again in full on the 27/28 November 2017. The magistrates' court upheld the decision of the committee and determined that the decision of the committee was not wrong in revoking both licences.
An appeal was then lodged to the Crown Court against the decision of the Magistrates Court, which was heard on the 26/27 July 2018 by Recorder Witherington and two Justices of the Peace.
On the 30 July 2018, Recorder Witherington passed down the judgement, the decision of the Crown Court was that the decision of the licensing committee and the decision of the Magistrates Court was not wrong, and the revocation of both licences, therefore, took immediate effect.
Vehicle policy changes - effective from 1 April 2018
If you are considering replacing your vehicle after the 1 April 2018 there is a change to the policy that you should be aware of.
From the 1 April 2018, all new vehicles must have a European emissions rating of five or above. Vehicles that do not have a European emissions rating of five or above will not be licensed after this date. It is also recommended that when purchasing a replacement vehicle from 1 April 2018 that you consider a vehicle with a Euro NCAP star ratings of five or more are required.
Both the emissions rating and NCAP star ratings can be checked with the vehicle manufacturer or online using a vehicle specification guide such as ‘Parkers’.
First private hire operators to achieve five-star status
Five private hire operator firms have become the first in the East Riding to gain a five-star status in a scheme designed to promote public safety and raise standards.
Home Sweet Home, based in Hornsea; Willerby Cars; All Journey Solutions, based in Beverley, Wilberfoss Travel were presented with certificates and display stickers after completing the training and assessment process.
All White Cars based in Hook have also achieved the five-star rating but were unable to attend the presentation.
The private hire operators’ mandatory accreditation scheme is the first of its kind in the country and has been implemented by East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s licensing scheme and will see operators required to display a star rating, similar to the food hygiene ratings given to food outlets.
The accreditation sticker and certificate can be prominently displayed in offices and vehicles giving the public information and reassurance that the firm they are using operates to a high standard and promotes public safety.
All operators licensed with the council will be assessed on a number of criteria and given a rating of between three and five, with three being the minimum basic requirement.
Since the scheme launched earlier this year, 76 of the existing 80 licensed private hire operators have already achieved the satisfactory three-star rating by attending free private hire law and safeguarding awareness sessions.
There are also 12 operators who are working towards the five-star rating with assessments planned for early in 2018.
The scheme is just one of a number of measures introduced this year by the council for taxis and private hire services operating in the East Riding to give protection to both customers and drivers.
These include the installation of CCTV cameras in licensed vehicles, mandatory safeguarding training and the introduction of the distinctive green and white livery on taxi vehicles.
Councillor Shaun Horton, portfolio holder for community involvement at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “I would like to offer my congratulations to those operators who have committed to the scheme and completed their five-star accreditation.
“I am really proud that East Riding of Yorkshire Council is the first in the country to implement such a scheme which raises standards and provide a real commitment providing a safe and reliable private hire service for the public.
“I hope there are many more five-star ratings to come.”
Anthony Hardwick, operator of Home Sweet Home based in Hornsea, said: “I wanted to gain the five stars so people in the area know we are a well-run, reputable company that can be trusted.
“Issues over the past few years have left some of the taxi industry with a bad reputation so a scheme like this helps give customers that reassurance and confidence.
Issues over the past few years have left some of the taxi industry with a bad reputation so a scheme like this is great as it helps give customers reassurance that we are a well-run and trustworthy business.
Jon Wray, operator of Willerby Cars, who has been operating for just 18 months, said: “We’re proud of this achievement as we always strive to do our best for the customers and this will give them some reassurance.
'I’d urge every private hire operator to take part in this scheme as it’s beneficial to everyone.'
Paul Hinton, operator of Wilberfoss Travel, said: “I take a lot of pride in the service I offer and do go that extra mile for customers.
'The taxi industry has had some bad press recently so a scheme like this really does help to raise standards and provide reassurance for the public.'
Andrew Jessop, operator of All Journey Solutions which is an executive vehicle hire company based in Beverley, said: “I’d urge everyone to take part in this scheme – it doesn’t cost anything to complete but has great benefits.
'I think it’s a good scheme to try and raise the standards and this accreditation shows the company takes public safety seriously.'
Interested in carrying out taxi/private hire contracts for East Riding of Yorkshire Council?
If you are a licensed private hire operator or a hackney carriage proprietor then why not apply to be eligible to tender for passenger services contracts on behalf of East Riding of Yorkshire Council. Please see the leaflet below for further information on how to register: