Gedling Borough Council has just announced that from 1 December it intends to replace the fees presently charged for HC and PH drivers and vehicle licences and PH operator licences as set out below:- Driver Licence Fee 1 year - £162.00 Driver Licence Fee 3 year - £419.00 Vehicle Licence Fee - £158.00 (plus vehicle inspection fee £88) Operator’s Licence 1 year - £120 plus £120 per additional vehicle Operator’s Licence 3 year - £635 plus £179 per additional vehicle Gedling Licensed Driver Association told PHTM that they are shocked and saddened by this move by the council at a time when drivers are struggling to pay mortgages and put food on the table. Lodge any objections now.


Telford & Wrekin Council is expected to continue with its policy which disallows taxis from fitting tinted windows to their vehicles. According to the Shropshire Star, the policy was put in place in 2017 as a way of protecting the public, and the council will review whether to change the rules at the next committee meeting. The policy only allows vehicles to have tinted windows if they were factory fitted when the car was made, and not added afterwards. It also states that the light transmitted through the windscreen must be at least 75 per cent. The front side windows must also allow at least 70 per cent of light to be transmitted through them. The review was set up after two local taxi firms wrote to ask the council to continue to allow cars with factory fitted tinted windows to operate – but to remove the test on the amount of light that is transmitted through the glass. The request has been backed by 139 people who have signed a petition supporting the proposal.


Rules on the age of taxi vehicles and regulations for drivers have been temporarily relaxed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the Bury Times, Bury Council said it had reacted to lockdown by trying to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers by introducing temporary measures which will now be extended. The measures include postponing new applications for taxi drivers and suspending the requirement for medical examinations by allow- ing drivers to self-certify medical fitness. The council is also issuing 12-month taxi licences instead of the nor- mal three-year badge so that the costs to drivers would reduce from £180 to £60. Another measure is to suspend the ‘knowledge test’ for drivers until further notice due to ‘guidelines on safe work- ing practices which affect licensing staff and the need to implement social distancing measures for drivers attending for the test’. A report from Donna Ball, the executive director of operations at Bury Council, also recommended that the rule forbidding vehicles more than ten years old being used for taxis and PHVs in the bor- ough be relaxed. This would mean that those vehicles will not be required to satisfy that test until the next full renewal. This will affect vehicles being tested up until June 30, 2021. The licensing panel voted unanimously to extend the changes.



Twice yearly taxi tests are set to be axed by Milton Keynes Council in a bid to save money. Since March taxis and PHVs have been allowed by the Government to stay on the road as long as they have an MoT certificate and the council is now set to make this a permanent policy. A meeting heard that a review of the taxi licensing service conclud- ed that the council’s vehicle testing service at Synergy Park, Bleak Hall, is losing the council £110,000. It employs one ful-time, and one part-time, specialist vehicle examiner. “Vehicle testing could be successfully provided, without compro- mising public safety, by local private firms,” said Jason Agar, the council’s taxi licensing lead, in a report to the meeting of the regu- latory committee. The system of twice yearly checks on top of having an MoT is set to be replaced by council officer checks once the vehicle has a certifi- cate, and then if concerns are raised. The council says the decision to outsource MoT and licence check- ing will provide a boost to local garages and save licence holders money at a time when the trade is struggling to attract passengers. Each council test costs £61 and the MoT is priced at £54.85. It will need to be confirmed by the cabinet, and a date for a final decision has been placed in the council’s forward plan to be made on December 15. The committee meeting was also told that the council decided to lift a six-year vehicle age limit for new licences in June. It means that vehicles can be re-licensed if they are up to ten years old.


Desperate taxi drivers have told Wokingham Borough Council that they have “given up” as demand for their services has plummeted due to Covid. They told a council meeting that there is almost no work for them anymore in the borough and many drivers have taken up other jobs, such as doing deliveries for restaurants. A few are even looking for taxi fares in other parts of the country. Cllr Lindsay Ferris told the council’s Agenda Licensing and Appeals Committee on 6 October: “We need to help this part of the commu- nity. It has been extremely badly affected. They are getting some business, but I reckon it’s 10 to 15 per cent of what they got before.” Cllr Rachel Burgess added the drivers are “struggling right now” and many “have already given up”. Consequently the committee agreed to suspend a rule for 12 months which prevents drivers using a PHV over eight years old or a hackney carriage over 15 years old. They also suspended a rule requiring a driver’s vehicle, once it has reached its age limit, to pass the RAC’s advance inspection, costing £190. However, all vehicles must still pass HC and PHV tests and a standard MoT test. The council also reduced this year’s licensing fee for taxi drivers to £40. Cllr Burgess said: “Drivers have been massively hit by the pandemic, but six months in, what has this committee done to help them? I’m worried that whatever we agree now, for many of them it’s too little too late. “As a committee, we should have been reviewing the mea- sures we can take to support the trade – not just taxis – way before now and not being a barrier to them continuing in operation. “This committee has failed, at least in part, to do its job properly this year and people’s livelihoods have suffered as a result of that.”


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