Venue: Council Chamber
Contact: Susie Blood
The Director of Adult Social Care and Healthcare Integration submitted a report the purpose of which was to ask the Mayor Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health to approve two amendments to Middlesbrough’s Taxi Licensing Policies & Conditions following numerous requests from the Taxi Trade. The changes related to the permitted vehicle age limit and window tints permitted for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicles licensed by the Council.
It was advised that taxi legislation allowed each local authority to set the standards it required of its drivers, vehicles and operators by imposing local policies and conditions. Therefore, standards could and did vary considerably across England depending on the needs of each district.
There were currently 9 Private Hire Operator licences, 525 private hire vehicles, 240 hackney carriage vehicles, 98 hackney carriage drivers, 586 private hire drivers and 409 combined driver licences issued by Middlesbrough Council.
Middlesbrough Council had imposed an age policy for licensed Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicles which was amongst the highest standards of all of the North East local authorities.
The Council’s current policy also required window tints for the rear passenger windows in licensed vehicles to conform to specified minimum light transmission levels which was something that was not a requirement for regular motor vehicles under road traffic legislation - Road Vehicles (Construction and Use Regulations).
It was advised that traditionally it had been usual practice for Private Hire Companies to obtain licences for vehicles, drivers and operators from the Local Authority where they were based and where they intended to carry out the majority of their work.
However, in recent years, there had been changes in Taxi legislation which had permitted Private Hire Operators, Vehicle Proprietors and Drivers to obtain licences from other local authorities without ever intending to work in that local authority’s area.
In many cases the standards, conditions and policies set by other local authorities were considerably less than their own local authorities. This had resulted in private hire licence holders, who would have ordinarily obtained licences from Middlesbrough Council, obtaining private hire vehicle and driver’s licences from Local authorities such as Wolverhampton City Council whilst operating exclusively in Middlesbrough and surrounding areas.
This was not just an issue of concern to Middlesbrough but was an issue concerning many local authorities across the country with Wolverhampton City Council licensed private hire vehicles and drivers operating in many of the major towns and cities in England.
There had been a vehicle age policy in Middlesbrough for over 25 years. The aim of the age policy was to maintain the quality and visual appearance of Middlesbrough’s Taxi Fleet. In relation to the safety of vehicles, a stringent taxi vehicle test was carried out annually for vehicles less than 3 years old and every 6 months for vehicles over 3 years of age by the Council’s MOT Testing Station.
Middlesbrough’s current age policy only allowed vehicles to be licensed if they were less than 3 years old when first licensed and ... view the full minutes text for item 21/7
The decision will come into force after five working days following the day the decision was published unless the decision becomes subject to the call in procedures.