Wednesday, October 4, 2023

News: Rotherham Council consults on taxi licensing


Rotherham Council is inviting people to have their say on a consultation about proposed changes to the Hackney Carriage (taxi) and Private Hire Licensing Policy.

The 2015 Casey report into Rotherham Council found that it had "weak and ineffective arrangements for taxi licensing which leave the public at risk" when it concluded that the authority "has not taken, and does not take, sufficient steps to ensure only fit and proper persons are permitted to hold a taxi licence."

That same year, a new Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy was introduced by the Council and it is widely regarded as a benchmark for other local authorities.

An updated policy came in during 2020 and several additional requirements were introduced, although the implementation of some measures has been delayed.

Now the policy is up for review, with the increase in out of town vehicles and sub-contracting being one focus.

The council acknowledges that, since the pandemic, the way that drivers are working has changed. Many choose to work for firms that have licences to operate in a number of different districts, such as Uber. Local firms are also using of drivers and vehicles licensed by other Councils.

And with the more stringent regulations in Rotherham around the age of vehicles and emissions, it has been suggested that a local driver can save between £2,000 - £3,000 on the cost of a vehicle by opting for a licence elsewhere.

A report from Rotherham Council said: "The proliferation of out of town vehicles is concerning, not least because this activity undermines the standards that are set by the Council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy. In addition, members of the local trade are not working within a “level playing field” and are finding that drivers licensed elsewhere are benefiting from an unfair commercial advantage due to lower operational costs."

Additional conditions are proposed to be included within the revised policy. Private Hire Operators will need to inform the customer at the time of booking if it will be sub-contracted to another Private Hire Operator. Operators must also maintain records of each subcontracted booking and inspections / compliance visits will include a detailed assessment of any arrangements that are in place for the sub-contracting of bookings to other operators.

Other proposed changes relate to vehicle age and emissions, vehicle testing, vehicle signage, the driver application process, and more offences are to be added to the convictions that bar drivers from the job.

Cllr Denise Lelliott, Cabinet member Jobs and the Local Economy, said: “Rotherham taxis and private hire cars are strongly regulated, but we’re always striving to improve vehicle and customer safety. For us to be able to do this, we need to listen to your views and make any necessary changes that will further strengthen taxi licensing for customers, drivers and operators.”

All responses to the consultation will be considered before the policy goes back to Cabinet for approval later this year.

Chair of the Licensing Board, Cllr Sue Ellis, said: “I’d encourage all residents to take a look at our proposed changes and let us have their thoughts on them. It’s only by working together that we can further improve and protect our communities.”

“The Council is a beacon for good practice nationally and it’s essential that we continue to lead the way when it comes to taxi safety.”

RMBC consultation website

Images: RMBC


Anonymous,  October 5, 2023 at 8:40 AM  

The council should look at why taxi drivers place their signs in different positions on their cars, it is only done so they can sell the car on as a normal car and not as an ex taxi. The cars also have the mileage adjusted to fool the buyer.

Rothguy October 5, 2023 at 12:39 PM  

Out of town operators do need looking into as plenty have places such as calderdale where taxi licenses must be easy to get.

Anonymous,  October 5, 2023 at 2:43 PM  

I've seen several Wolverhampton taxis around Rotherham in recent weeks

Anonymous,  October 6, 2023 at 5:37 PM  

And I saw a cab from Hackney

Anonymous,  October 7, 2023 at 6:42 AM  

Anyone who could develop a tuk tuk taxi with room on the back for a mobility scooter would make a fortune in the town centre.

Anonymous,  October 7, 2023 at 2:21 PM  

Saw a tuk tuk taxi in Masborough last week. It had a Wolverhampton licence plate

Anonymous,  October 8, 2023 at 10:16 AM  

But did it have a mobility scooter on the back?

Anonymous,  October 9, 2023 at 10:18 AM  

No, just a young woman who had lost her bus fare outside Tesco.

Anonymous,  October 9, 2023 at 3:18 PM  

I think the comments for this are just one mentally ill person talking to themselves.

Anonymous,  October 9, 2023 at 4:20 PM  

Since when has mental illness been a joking matter. You should be ashamed!

Anonymous,  October 10, 2023 at 9:18 AM  

I wasn't joking, it was a genuine observation.

You need to lighten up.

Anonymous,  October 10, 2023 at 1:51 PM  

If it was a genuine observation then I apologise for assuming you were joking. I didn't realise that you are an idiot.

Anonymous,  October 10, 2023 at 3:53 PM  

Calm down darling, you'll live longer.

Anonymous,  October 10, 2023 at 3:58 PM  

To be fair to the poster who said the comments for this look like one mentally ill person talking to themselves, they're right, it does.

To the person getting offended, you're everything that's wrong with society today. You get off on being offended.

Anonymous,  October 11, 2023 at 11:24 AM  

Ever thought about therapy or counselling?

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