A rise in cab fares for parts of East Suffolk has been agreed for the first time in eight years. East Suffolk Council’s licensing committee on Monday 19 October gave the go-ahead to a revised fare struc- ture for the old Suffolk Coastal district area. According to the Eastern Daily Press it means that on the day tariff the starting rate goes up by 20p to £3.60, with a 40p increase on the current £4.20 for one mile, a 60p increase on the two mile dis- tance, £1.20 increase for five miles, £2.20 increase for 10 miles and £3.20 increase for a 15 mile journey. For the night tariff between 10.30pm and 5.30am the flag fare and one mile journey increases by 30p, 50p for two miles, £1.10 for five miles, £2.10 for 10 miles and £3.10 for 15 miles. The request was brought forward by the taxi trade itself, which has not had an increase since May 2012. The committee voted 11 to one in favour of the changes, but said that work would soon need to begin to bring the different tariffs in the north of the district – the old Waveney District Council area – and the south together into one uniform tariff. That work is likely to begin early in the 2021/22 financial year. Another option the committee is set to assess in the future is a mandatory increase every two or three years. If there are no objections from the public the new fares will begin from December 1, or be considered at the committee’s January meeting if objections are received.


Windsor and Maidenhead councillors have approved a raft of changes to taxi and private hire licensing policy in the borough to make passengers and drivers safer. According to the Windsor and Maidenhead Express, at a recent Licensing Panel it was agreed to make the changes based on rec- ommendations made by the Department for Transport. Some of the changes include requiring drivers to notify the Royal Borough within 48 hours if they are arrested and released, charged or convicted of any sexual offence, or an offence involving dishon- esty, violence or motoring. They previously had to disclose this information within seven days. Other requirements include disclosing if they have previously had a licence refused, revoked or suspended. Licences will also no longer be granted to drivers whose name is on the children and adult barred list. Taxi drivers who spoke at the meeting broadly agreed with the pro- posals but warned that many drivers were at risk of losing their livelihoods due to the reduced demand for taxi services during the pandemic. Two of the new conditions, that drivers install CCTV cameras in their vehicles and that drivers applying for a new licence may need to take an English test, will be consulted on with the drivers before they are adopted. Drivers expressed concerns that some of their colleagues who have been working in the borough for 30 years could face losing their livelihoods if they were required to take an English test. Greg Nelson, Royal Borough trading standards and licensing lead, assured them that existing drivers would only need to take a test if officers suspect their language skills are below the standard needed to do the job properly.


Councillors have shelved plans to impose an age limit on taxis due to the impact Covid-19 has had on the trade. Stoke-on-Trent City Council had initially proposed to introduce a 12- year age limit on both PHVs and hackney carriages but taxi firms, associations and drivers objected to the ‘unaffordable’ proposal. They said replacing vehicles at a time when the pandemic has severely hit their income was not feasible. Committee members voted to accept the revised policy, barring the age limit, however it was stated that the issue may be revisited next year. The policy changes include requiring drivers to undertake a safeguarding refresher course every three years, and allowing the licensing of hackney carriages with rear access for wheelchairs. The new policy will come into effect from January 1, to give enough time for the council to inform drivers and firms of the changes.


CCTV cameras may be installed in taxis in Wakefield as part of a raft of new measures designed to make passengers safer. According to the Wakefield Express, Wakefield Council has pro- posed a new policy where drivers will have to do more frequent safeguarding training, while operators will be given more responsi- bility for carrying out criminal record checks. If the policy is adopted, a separate consultation on whether or not to enforce CCTV in taxis is likely to be carried out. A 12-week consultation on all aspects of the new policy will start imminently, with details to be published on the council’s website. Drivers and members of the public are encouraged to take part. Speaking at a licensing committee meeting on Wednesday, a senior council officer said although a number of “hurdles” would have to be overcome to make CCTV mandatory, he would “strongly recom- mend” the system.


In the near future, new hackney carriages operating in Derby will all be black with a distinctive yellow flash. According to DerbyshireLive, the new colour scheme will be a sign to residents that the vehicle meets strict emission standards and the owner is playing their part in helping reduce pollution levels by using the latest and cleanest cars available to the trade. A decision was taken by the city’s licensing committee last year to develop a taxi and PHV strategy, which included the colour change and other new rules for hackney carriages and PHVs. Whilst the implementation has been delayed, the first new vehicles are now ready to hit the streets. People driving the current yellow cabs have until January 2025 to meet the required minimum standard of Euro 6 Diesel or ZEC ULEV. By the same date, all hackneys and PHVs should be no more than 15 years old for diesel vehicles and 12 years for ZEC ULEV vehicles. Cllr Ajit Atwal, licensing committee chairman, said: “I’m really pleased we’ve been able to begin moving forward with the rebrand- ing of the Derby fleet.


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