Cllr Paul Wray
Taxi and Private Hire Vehicles Updates
Officers have taken some decisions on Safety Screens and License Renewals due to the pandemic. These can be read below.
Safety Screens in Taxi and Private Hire Vehicles
A decision has been made to:
continue with the Council's existing policy on
vehicle safety screens requiring approval and meeting safety standards, which qualifies the vehicle owner for a payment of 50% of the cost of the screen installation, up to a maximum of £250.
issue a briefing note to the licensed trade to recognise the possible reduction of Covid-19 transmission and improved public and driver confidence if more vehicles were to have
screens fitted. The note clarifies the Council will not approve the design and fitting of such screens, accepts no liability for injury or damage from such screens, and they will need to be removed as soon as the Covid-19 emergency ends.
The decision follows advice provided by Legal Services and Finance Services. As you may imagine, the council is currently receiving considerable material from safety screen providers, and we will be checking carefully the documentation to see which designs meet the standard, and can be approved.
Renewal of Taxi and Private Hire Licenses
A decision has been made to deal with around 2100 licences which were extended for a period of up to 3 months between 24 March and 12 June 2020. These licences were extended to 30 June, as part of the national lockdown, which also involved the closure of the Council's Taxi and Private Hire Office, and licence holders were told no fee would be taken for these licences.
The service is resuming licensing, by phone and email, and will write to the 2100 licence holders to request that they apply to renew their licence from 30 June.
Licence holders will be offered the chance to apply for a licence with an expiry date linked to their previous licence (i.e. between 24 March and 12 June), in order to avoid having 2100 licences expiring on the same date each year, which would be extremely difficult to administer (normally the council has between 5 and 10 licenses expiring each weekday) in future years.
The licence holders will be asked to pay a licensing fee in proportion to the length of the new licence, whether for a driver, vehicle or operator. The 'lost' income from 24 March to 12 June will be funded from the Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Reserves.
This decision was also made following advice from Legal Services and Finance Services.
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