Taxi/private hire news flashes

What's new in taxi/private hire licensing?

National lockdown - 5 January 2021

Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly across the country and as a result the Government has announced a new national lockdown from Tuesday 5 January 2021 to control the virus. This imposes significant restrictions on travel, however as an important element of the local transport network, taxi and private hire businesses are permitted to operate. This is to allow for essential travel to the supermarket, for work purposes where it is not possible to work from home, for education and to access essential services.      

National Lockdown Guidance (external website)

It remains mandatory for passengers to wear face coverings when using a taxi or private hire vehicle, although exemptions for health, disability or other reasons still apply. Licensed drivers are recommended to wear face coverings whilst carrying out their duties. 

Please also remember you should not go to work if you: 

  • are showing symptoms
  • have been told to self-isolate
  • have received a positive test 
  • are awaiting a test result. 

You must notify the Taxi Hub if you have received a positive test or have to self-isolate or are notified that you have carried a passenger in your vehicle who has tested positive.

Email taxi.hub@eastriding.gov.uk

Please find links to the Government COVID-19 guidance pages below:

Guidance for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire drivers (external website)

Certificate of Compliance Testing - 5 November 2020

The Councils vehicle maintenance unit is open as normal and carrying out certificate of compliance testing as normal. Please book online as normal.

At this time there have been no extension of MOTs by the Government.

A63 Average Speed Cameras Warning - 22 October 2020

We have been notified by Safer Roads Humber that a number of licensed taxi and private hire vehicles have been caught speeding on the new A63 average speed cameras, some vehicles on multiple occasions. 

Please be aware that the cameras are now active and the speed limit is 40mph. They are in place to protect traffic, as the central reservation has been removed, and for them to slow down.

Any licensed drivers that receive a Fixed Penalty Notice from these cameras, or any others, must notify the Taxi Hub within 48 hours of receipt.

Please use the online reporting form below:

East Riding of Yorkshire Council - Driving offence reporting

COVID-19 Face Coverings and Case - 23 September 2020

From Wednesday 23 September, the use of face coverings for passengers using taxis and private hire vehicles is now mandatory

Please note: the relevant exemptions will continue to apply for those with health, disability, or other reasons in line with the current face coverings on public transport regulations. Those exempt individuals do not have to carry evidence of there exemption by law. 

The penalty for failing to wear a face covering will now be £200 for a first offence, doubling each time to a maximum fine of £6,400. This is in line with penalties for breaking the 'rule of six'. 

It still remains that all licensed drivers are recommended to wear face coverings at all times whilst undertaking your role. We ask that all drivers do wear face coverings to protect yourselves and others. Please do consider having spare face coverings in your vehicle, you can offer to customers should they be without one, as this will ensure any vulnerable customers are not left without a means of getting home safe. 

Please find links to the following Government COVID-19 guidance pages below:

GOV.UK - Safer transport guidance for operators (external website)

GOV.UK - Safer travel guidance for passengers (external website)

Passenger COVID-19 Case - 23 September 2020

We would also like to take this opportunity to notify you of a confirmed case of COVID-19 from a passenger travelling in a licensed vehicle. The driver having been in close contact with the passenger was required to self-isolate for a period of 14 days. Fortunately, the driver has not displayed any symptoms, however, he is still required to self-isolate. 

Please ensure that you or your operator notify the Taxi Hub if you become symptomatic and have to self isolate, or have are notified that you have carried a passenger in your vehicle that has tested positive. 

This also highlights the importance of maintaining clean and hygienic vehicles at all times and ensuring that standards do not slip as the pandemic continues. 

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 taxi.hub@eastriding.gov.uk

COVID-19 Testing Facilities

The Government has recently introduced testing facilities for those who are self-isolating with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). Tests are currently being carried out on patients as a priority; however tests are also available for:

  • all essential workers including NHS and social care workers with symptoms
  • anyone over 65 with symptoms
  • anyone with symptoms whose work cannot be done from home
  • anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus and lives with any of those identified above.

This means anyone in one of these groups can find out whether or not they have the virus. Taxi drivers, whose work cannot be done from home, are therefore eligible to be tested, along with other members of the household in which they are self-isolating.

You can request to be tested by completing a self-referral form via the following link to the GOV.UK website:

Self-Referral for COVID-19 Test (external website)

COVID-19 Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

Please see the below links for further information about how HMRC will work out your income and profits if you're self-employed or a member of a partnership in the UK and have lost profits due to coronavirus (COVID-19) and how you can claim a grant through this scheme.

GOV.UK - How HMRC works out total income and trading profits for the self-employment income support scheme (external website)

GOV.UK - Claim a grant through the coronavirus COVID-19 self-employment income support scheme (external website)

MOT exemption for cars, motorcycles and vans

The Government has announced that cars, motorcycles and vans are to be granted a 6-month MOT exemption in order to allow people to carry on with essential travel, such as travelling to and from work where this absolutely cannot be done from home and shopping for necessities. This temporary exemption will enable vital services to continue, front-line workers to get to work, and people to get essential food and medicine.

All cars, vans, and motorcycles that would usually require an MOT test have been exempted from needing a test from Monday 30 March 2020. 

GOV.UK - MOT exemption (external website)

We will apply the same exemption to compliance tests for licensed vehicles; therefore any vehicles requiring a compliance test between Monday 30 March 2020 and Wednesday 30 September 2020 are to be temporarily exempted. 

Please note: all vehicles requiring a compliance test before Monday 30 March 2020 must still be tested. 

Vehicles must, however, be kept in a roadworthy condition, and garages will remain open for essential repair work. Drivers can be prosecuted if driving unsafe vehicles.

GOV.UK - Advice on keeping a vehicle in good condition (external website)

This checklist is to be used as an absolute minimum and daily checks should continue to be carried out on licensed vehicles prior to them being used.

You must also only operate under this exemption in conjunction with the Government advice on business operations; the Department of Transport has provided an update on the status of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire services (please see updates below).

Small Business Grants

Further to the Government announcement that cash grants are to be made available to small businesses in the coming weeks, there are currently no similar schemes in place, at present, to provide financial support to those who are self-employed. 

The only current measures that have so far been announced for the benefit of self-employed workers are: 

  • income tax payments due in July 2020 under the self-assessment system will be deferred to January 2021
  • a relaxation of the ‘minimum income’ rules for those who are self-employed and looking to make a claim for Universal Credit.

As the vast majority of taxi drivers fall into the self-employed category, the current guidelines and restrictions in place make this a deeply concerning time for the trade. There are calls for the Government to urgently address this and make financial assistance available to the self-employed, calculated from their average earnings. 

The most up to date information from the Government can be found via the following link:

GOV.UK - Guidance to employers and businesses about Covid-19 (external website)

This is a matter that, as a local authority, we will be paying very close attention to over the coming days and weeks in order to ensure our licensed drivers are made aware of the most up to date information about any financial assistance that may become available. 

Leeds Clean Air Charging Zone

Leeds City Council has asked the government for permission to delay the planned Clean Air Charging Zone until January 2021 at the earliest. 

The Leeds Clean Air Charging Zone had been due to go live on 28 September 2020 but is likely to be delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

When implemented, the zone will tackle air pollution and protect the health of everyone in Leeds by encouraging businesses to switch to cleaner vehicles that won't be charged. 

Any taxi and private hire vehicles that fail to meet minimum emissions standards will be charged for driving within the zone's boundary.

In order to prepare for the Leeds Clean Air Zone hackney carriage and private hire drivers can:

Bradford Council is proposing a separate Clean Air Zone (CAZ) which will include Bradford city centre, Shipley and Saltaire. The Bradford CAZ is planned to go live after October 2021 and will include the same charges and vehicle categories as the Leeds CAZ but with the addition of most categories of vans and light goods vehicles. 

Further information and opportunities to respond can be found at:

Bradford Council -  Consultation and engagement (external website)

Licensing Fees 2020

In accordance with Section 70 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, East Riding of Yorkshire Council proposes to set the following fees in respect of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing from 1 April 2020

Proposed Fees 2020 (pdf 81kb)

Any objections to the proposed fees must be made in writing to:

Louise Wilson, Licensing Manager
East Riding of Yorkshire Council Licensing Team
County Hall
HU17 9BA.

Email to taxi.hub@eastriding.gov.uk by 31 December 2019.

If no objections to the proposals are received, then the new licensing fees will come into effect on 1 April 2020.

Vehicle licences go electronic

All vehicle 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. 

Get Home Safe Tonight logo

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 drivers licence for Ms W Jackson were revoked by the licensing committee on the 6 March 2017, following the committees 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 judgment, 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.  

Notes taken from the judgment can be read in the PDF available via the link below:

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.”

Reporting concerns about unlicensed taxis  

Anyone who has any concerns about unlicensed taxis should email the council’s licensing team at taxi.hub@eastriding.gov.uk 

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: 

Applying to be registered for contracts leaflet (pdf 113kb)

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