New law change regarding disabled taxi users
From 6 April 2017 it will be illegal for taxi drivers to discriminate against wheelchair users. Taxi drivers face a fine of up to £1,000 if they refuse to transport wheelchair users or attempt to charge them extra, in a change to the law announced on 7 February 2017 by the Transport Minister.
From 6 April 2017 hackney carriage and private hire vehicle drivers will be obliged by law to:
- transport wheelchair users in their wheelchair
- provide passengers in wheelchairs with appropriate assistance
- charge wheelchair users the same as non-wheelchair users
The new rules will apply in Engalnd, Wales and Scotland affecting vehicles that are designated as wheelchair accessible and will apply to both hackney carriages and private hire vehicles.
Drivers found to be discriminating against wheelchair users will face fines of up to £1,000 as part of provisions being enacted from the Equality Act. Drivers may also face having their taxi or private hire vehicle licence suspended or revoked by the licensing authority. Drivers unable to provide assistance for medical reasons will be able to apply to their licensing authority for an exemption from the new requirements
See the full article or contact the taxi licensing on 0115 9071113 for furtehr information.
Result of consultation exercise - Important changes to taxi licensing policy
On Thursday 18 June 2016 the Licensing & Public Protection Committee held a meeting to consider the outcome of a consultation exercise undertaken in response to a petition submitted by a number of Long Eaton drivers.
The Licensing and Public Protection Committee considered the petition at its meeting on 14th January 2016 and resolved that since the signatories on the petition represented only 13% of the licensed drivers operating in Erewash further consultation was required with all licensed drivers, operators and vehicle proprietors to obtain more representative feedback on the issues raised.
Drivers, vehicle proprietors and Private Hire Operators were asked to respond to the consultation, giving their opinions on the following:
- Whether there should be a fare increase, and if yes, by how much
- Taxi rank provision in Long Eaton - suitable sites
- The council's vehicle age policy - should the council extend the current age restriction policy or adopt an 'exceptional condition' age policy.
- Vehicle testing arrangements at Merlin Way depot - more vehicle testing slots?
- The council's taxi knowledge test - should it include modules on customer care and safeguarding issues?
The consultation took place between 17 February and 14 March 2016 and a report was submiited to the licensing and Public Protection Committee which was based on the 40 respones received by the licensing office.
The Licensing and Public protection Committee resolved that;
(1) The temporary taxi stand at Beaconsfield Street in Long Eaton is appointed as a permanent stand for hackney carriages and to authorise officers to commence statutory consultations;
(2) A further report be submitted to this committee if any representations are received regarding the proposed stand at Beaconsfield;
(3) Approval be given for saloon hackney carriage and private hire vehicle licences to be renewed up to ten years of age (rather than the current 8 year threshold) including a requirement that these vehicles must be tested three times per annum;
(4) Approval be given that the existing arrangements for testing hackney carriages and private hire vehicles at Merlin Way Depot remain unchanged;
(5) Approval be given for a fare increase of 50p on the flag rate and that officers be authorised to advertise the proposed increase in accordance with the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976;
(6) A further report be submitted to this committee if any representations regarding the proposed fare increase are received;
(7) Subject to no representations being received regarding the proposed fare increase approval is given for the commencement of the new fare rate from 11th July 2016;
(8) Approval be given for changes to the knowledge test to include questions concerning local area knowledge, customer care and safeguarding which is consistent with the Department of Transport best practice guidance.
Deregulation Act 2015
The Deregulation Act received Royal Assent on 26 March 2015. Three provisions relate to private hire licensing:
- private hire driver’s licence to last for three years
- private hire operator’s licence to last for five years
- sub-contracting to licensed operators outside of this district.
The Act is being introduced to reduce the burden of administration on business and individuals, and to cut ''red tape''. The measures will affect you as a hackney carriage/private hire vehicle driver or a private hire operator.
The above provisions come into force on 1 October 2015. A report has been submitted to the relevant licensing Committee to amend the current Licensing Policy to reflect the above changes. The current taxi and private hire fees have remained static in line with other council services since 2008/9 and this service was inadvertently subsidised by the council and so due to the changes in legislation the cost of administration for a three year hackney carriage/private hire vehicle driver licence, and five year private hire operator licence have been revised.
The proposed fees were approved by the Licensing & Public Protection Committee on the 17 September 2015. These fees are intended to come into force on 1 November 2015.
As of 8 June 2015, the counterpart attached to your DVLA driving licence will no longer be valid. The photocard will remain valid and all details related to the driving licence will be stored online. There is no change to the old style driving licence.
The council will continue to use the driving licence checking service to check a driver’s history however if this check has been delayed then you can use the DVLA’s online checking service.
Guidance notes on how to use this service are detailed in the related documents section. You can either use the online service or contact the DVLA tel: 0300 083 0013 to obtain a unique code for the council to carry out a check.
Changes to the drug driving law
From 2 March 2015 It is now an offence to drive with certain drugs above a specified level in your blood - just as is the case with drink driving. This change to the law makes it easier for the police to catch and convict drug drivers. Read the full DVLA article.
Zero Tolerance Campaign for Drivers
Erewash Borough Council licensing team are leading a campaign showing that there will be no tolerance shown towards abuse or violence that is directed towards Erewash taxi drivers. The 'Zero Tolerance' campaign is supported by Derbyshire Constabulary and was funded by the Erewash Safety Partnership.
The campaign was introduced after an attack was made against an Erewash licensed driver by a drunken customer after a night out. Thankfully the driver was not hurt in this attack and the customer faced charges of criminal damage to the vehicle. We know this behaviour is unfortunately not unique with several incidents of this nature reported each year.
The police and licensing team will be distributing car stickers to operators and licensed drivers from 9 December 2013. Beer mats will also display this message and will be distributed to pubs & clubs by Derbyshire Constabulary Safer Neighbourhood Teams for use in the run up to Christmas.
We hope that this message reminds customers that violence and abuse is not tolerated and that violent incidents against taxi drivers will be taken very seriously. Drivers are reminded that if they face abuse they must report it to the police or Crimestoppers. The police can be contacted in an emergency on 999 or on for a non-emergency on 101. Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.
For further information or if you require any more of the car stickers please contact the licensing team on 0115 9073120.
Latest spot checks on Erewash vehicles
On Thursday 1 Decenber 2016 licensing officers from Erewsh Borough Council attended an enforcement exercise in Derby City Centre and its outskirts. Also in attendance were licensing officers from Derby City Council, Gedling Borough Council and a Derbyshire police traffiic officer. A total of 13 Taxis and private hire vehilcles were stopped, of which 5 were licensed by Derby City, 6 were licensed by Gedling Borough Council, and 2 were licensed by Erewash.
- 3 Derby City Vehicles were found to have serious defects and had their plates removed and licences suspended, 1 Derby City vehicle was referred for further inspection at a testing station and another was found to have an advisory defect.
- 1 Gedling vehicle had its plates removed and licence suspended and another was referred for further inspection at a testing station.
- 2 Erewash vehicles were satisfactory, although one had an under-inflated tyre and was advised to attend to it as soon as he could.
On Tuesday 20 September 2016 licensing officers from Erewash Borough Council attended an enforcement exercise at the East Midlands Airport. Taxis and private hire vehicles from 43 different authorities were checked throughout the day by licensing officers from 12 different councils and teams from VOSA and Leicestershire police.
A total of 147 vehicles were stopped and checked at a location within East Midlands Airport. Th eresults were as listed below:
- VOSA issued 12 prohibitions consisiting of 4 tyre defects, 2 seat belt defects, 3 prohibitions for defective brake pipes, and 3 for defective CV gaiters.
- Police issued 2 vehicle defect forms and 2 Traffic Offence Reports (no insurance and a tyre defect).
- 104 vehicles had no mechanical defects (68.71% pass rate).
On Friday 26 August 2016 licensing officers from Erewash Borough Council undertook an enforcement exercise at Ilkeston Market Place with Derbyshire police. Drivers were also spoken to regarding the illegal use of bus lanes in the area and driving across the Market Place, contrary to the local traffic order. Officers also visited Long Eaton.
Vehicles were checked on the Ilkeston Market place and Long Eaton taxi ranks. There were no infringements issued.
On Wednesday 20 April 2016 licensing officers from Erewash Borough Council attended an enforcement exercise at the East Midlands airport in Leicestershire. Taxis and private hire vehicles from 26 different authorities were checked throughout the day by licensing officers from 11 different councils and teams from HM Customs & Excise, VOSA and Leicestershire police.
A total of 73 vehicles were stopped and checked at a location within the airport complex. The results of the checks were as follows:
- 6 prohibitions consisting of 4 tyre defects, 1 CV boot defect and 1 suspension linkage.
- Other minor defects found included 7 tyres, 6 vehicles with no first aid kit, 6 vehicles with no fire extinguisher, 3 drivers not wearing their badge, 1 CV boot and 1 problem with car suspension.
- 49 vehicles were all in order.
On Friday 18 March 2016 licensing officers from Erewash Borough Council undertook an enforcement exercise at Ilkeston Market Place with Derbyshire police. Drivers were also spoken to regarding the illegal use of bus lanes in the area and driving across the Market Place, contrary to the local traffic order.
14 vehicles were checked on the Market place taxi rank. one infringement notice was issued to a driver and two drivers were told to replace bulbs on the night. Police spoke to one driver regarding the illegal use of the bus lane.
Trusted Trader List - Derbyshire County Council
Following a recent conversation with a representative from Trading Standards it would appear that there are currently no local taxi operators listed on the Derbyshire County Council's 'Trusted Trader list'. The scheme is open to all Derbyshire businesses and currently holds 1,300 members. DCC would therefore like to see more taxi companies applying for membership to the scheme, with the potential added benefit of increased trade to operators.
The aim of the scheme is to put the general public in touch with traders who care about their customers and who commit to providing good services legally, honestly and fairly. All businesses that apply to join Derbyshire Trusted Trader are subject to checks by Derbyshire Trading Standards, and reviews take place annually to ensure that all members continue to meet the terms and conditions of membership and uphold high standards of customer service.
Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) - New Update Service Available to Drivers
A new online update service is to be introduced by the DBS on the 17 June 2013. From this date, any applicant who applies for their next criminal record check can choose to subscribe to the new service for a cost of £13 a year. This new service aims to save you and the Registered Body (the Council) both time and money and improve the overall safeguarding landscape.
Once you have received your disclosure certificate from the DBS (the Council will no longer receive a copy) and have produced it to the licensing department you then have the option of subscribing to the new service. This will allow you to keep your disclosure certificate up to date, and take it from role to role within the same workforce area, including Derbyshire County Council school contacts, so therefore not requiring a new certificate for different employers. In effect this service means that employers will be able to carry out free, online checks of an individual's disclosure certificate (with their consent) to check that it is up to date. When subscribed, the individual will not be required to submit a new certificate every three years as is normally required by the Council. See the DBS Update Service Applicant Guide.
How do I Sign Up - Applicant Information
Joining the update service couldn't be easier. For applicants, after 17 June 2013, when you apply for your next criminal record check, you can simply access the update service via their website and enter the following information:
- Application form reference number (the 'F' number on the front of the page of the form)
- Date of birth
- Email address
- Volunteer Status
- Optional field of mobile phone number
Subscribers will receive a unique ID number, which you must keep safe and not share with anyone, as you will use this to access their Update Service account online. Subscription starts from the date your certificate is issued (or your joining date, if this was later) and lasts for 12 months when you need to pay the annual fee of £13 to renew your subscription.
Please contact the licensing office if you require further information or guidance on this new service, or alternatively visit the Disclosure & Barring Service website.
The Taxi Forum is held approximately 3 times a year at either Long Eaton or Ilkeston Town Halls. It is the chance for representatives of the taxi trade to meet the Council to discuss any current issues, proposals or changes to licensing procedures or policy. It is open to licensed operators, drivers and proprietors.
The most recent Forum was held on Monday 9 June 2014. Please find below the Agenda and Minutes from that meeting.
The Taxi Forum scheduled for Monday 6 October 2014 has been cancelled.
Refusing Fares on Hackney Carriage Ranks
Following receipt of intelligence regarding the refusing of some 'small fares' on some taxi ranks we would like to remind drivers that it is an offence to refuse any fare without a reasonable excuse, and this would normally be a case of concerns regarding your own or public safety. It is an offence under section 53 of the Town and Police Clauses Act 1847 [PDF 4KB]. Some drivers have raised concerns that this was regularly taking place on the Market Street rank at Ilkeston and the licensing department are currently investigating these allegations.
Licence Conditions - Reminders
Change of Address
Drivers will notify the council of any change of his/her address during the period of his /her licence WITHIN 7 DAYS of such a change taking place.
Convictions, Cautions and Fixed Penalty Notices
- If the driver is charged with or convicted of any criminal offence
- If the driver has been formally interviewed under caution at a police station for any offence which you are suspected of having committed
- If the driver has been cautioned for any offence
- If the driver has been convicted of a Fixed Penalty Notice, within 5 days of being endorsed on the driving licence.
If the offence is endorsed on your driving licence and /or a fixed penalty notice is issued you must also produce the licence to the licensing department within 14 days of your appearance in court OR the date the conviction was endorsed on the driving licence, whichever is the later.
Failure to notify the council of any conviction as stated above may result in the revocation or suspension of the Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver's licence. The driver may have to attend the council's Driver's Panel to determine whether the licence will be re-issued, and whether the driver is deemed a ''fit and proper person''.
The Taxi Trade Newsletter
Please read the latest edition of our publication - the Taxi & Private Hire Newsletter for Spring 2016 is now available to view.
Changes to Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Licensing Policy and Conditions
From 18 September 2012 the following conditions will apply to vehicles licensed by Erewash Borough Council:
- Purpose built Hackney Carriage and Private Hire wheelchair accessible vehicles (or modified vehicles) will be licensed to a maximum of 12 years old from date of first registration.
- Saloon vehicles transferred onto an existing plate will be permitted up to a maximum of 8 years old from date of first registration. Wheelchair accessible vehicles transferred onto an existing plate will be permitted up to a maximum of 12 years old from date of first registration.
Vehicles specially constructed or adapted for the carriage of passengers in wheelchairs:
- Modified vehicles, including rear loading vehicles, will be required to hold the Department for Transport's M1 type approval certification or alternative approved certification.
- The vehicle will have to comply with the vehicle specification requirements relating to vehicles which carry 5 or more passengers as set out by Erewash Borough Council, pending the publication of a National Specification for taxi vehicles. Further advice may be sought from the licensing authority at Erewash Borough Council.
- Vehicles must be capable of taking a wheelchair with passenger. The wheelchair must be suitably anchored with a safety belt/harness for the user. The vehicle must have a satisfactory arrangement for ramps, steps, handrails, storage of wheelchairs and comply with British safety standards for M1 type approved wheelchair accessible vehicles for the seats, floor tracking, seatbelts and anchorages. Vehicles must comply with all construction and use/type approved requirements.
- New drivers with wheelchair accessible vehicles must have undertaken training to utilise the vehicle equipment and assist the passenger safely. A list of acceptable training providers is available from the licensing department.
From 1 April 2012 all Private Hire vehicles shall be required to display on each front panel of the vehicle, a sign stating the words:
PRIVATE HIRE - ADVANCED BOOKINGS ONLY
The sign can either be a removable magnetic sign or a permanent 'sticker' type sign.
The words 'Private Hire' shall be letters at least 50mm high. The words 'Advanced Bookings Only' shall be in letters at least 25mm high. The company name and contact number shall be in letters at least 25mm high. The maximum height of advertising letters and numbers shall not exceed 20cm.
Please note that failure to have these signs displayed on a Private Hire Vehicle during a vehicle test at the Council Depot after 1 April 2012 may result in a 'green' failure and subsequent re-test.
A current copy of the licensing policy and procedures for Private Hire vehicles can be seen in the Guidance Booklet - Vehicles [PDF 135KB] If you require further help or guidance please contact the licensing department.
Changes to Driver Licensing Policy and Conditions
From 18 September 2012 the following conditions will apply to drivers licensed by Erewash Borough Council:
- There will be no minimum age limit for Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver applicants, although the statutory minimum period of holding a driving licence for one year before application will still apply. In effect the minimum age for applicants will now be 18.
- There will be no maximum age limit for Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver applicants, provided that regular medical checks are undertaken (see 3 below)
- All Erewash drivers will now undergo medicals on the following occasions:
- On initial application
- At 45 years of age, then every 5 years (50,55,60,65) until the age of 65, unless restricted to a shorter period for medical reasons
- Over the age of 65 medicals annually without an upper age limit
- All drivers must notify the Council within seven working days of any medical condition which may affect his or her ability to drive safely or assist passengers. The driver may then be required to undergo an additional medical examination or produce written confirmation from his own medical practitioner or hospital consultant as to his/her continued fitness to drive as a motor vehicle.
Please see the Guidance Booklet - Drivers [PDF 140KB] for more information.
Changes to Licensing Policy - From April 2013
From April 2013 the following conditions will apply to vehicles licensed by Erewash Borough Council:
- There will be a 20% discount on the annual licensing fee for applications where the vehicle to be licensed falls into vehicle excise duty bands A to C.
- Vehicles are allocated into the bands according to their CO2 emissions, and to qualify for the discount vehicles need to have CO2 emissions below 121 g/km.
- This information can be found on the V5 logbook. Please contact the licensing office if you require more information.
Please see Guidance Booklet - Vehicles [PDF 135KB] for more information.
Equality Act 2010- Driver Training
There is a new Disability Awareness e - learning training course set up by the Council, which is available to all licensed drivers.
The training course is an on-line module which can be accessed from either a home PC or any of the PC's located within Erewash Borough Council's public reception areas. Completing the course it is not mandatory or conditional to drivers remaining licensed with the Council, but they are recommended to complete the training in order to continue their professional development.
Letters will soon be sent out to all drivers notifying them of their individual log-in details and instructions on how to use the website.
Disability Awareness - Additional Training
Drivers may wish to visit the Democracy, Disability and Society Group website for some information regarding the difficulties disabled people have when using taxis. This society are a group of people trying to break down the barriers to disabled people's inclusion in society. Their experiences have caused them to be particularly concerned about the availability of transport to get them around.
This web site is intended to help this process by showing how taxi companies, drivers and local authorities can best support disabled peoples' use of taxis and private hire vehicles.
It must be stressed that this web site merely offers advice and guidance to drivers when dealing with disabled passengers. Any training involved is seen as best practice and NOT compulsory for Erewash drivers.
Market Place Taxi Rank, Long Eaton - Traffic Order Enforcement
The traffic order covering the Market Place Taxi rank and the adjacent pedestrianised area are now formalised and therefore enforceable. Depending on the type of offence both the Council's Civil Enforcement Officers or the Police will be enforcing the Traffic Order.
The main points of the order that will affect taxi drivers are as follows:
- Prohibition of driving on the Market Place pedestrianised area between the hours of 10am and 4pm (so there can be no entering off the Market Place or off Union Street). Entering the pedestrianised area through these access points between the restricted hours is a moving traffic offence which will be enforced by the police.
- There is also a prohibition of waiting within this area between the same hours. Anyone found parked on the pedestrianised area is contravening the prohibition of waiting. Civil Enforcement Officers will be enforcing this contravention.
- It will also be an offence to be waiting on the taxi rank anywhere other than in one of the six marked bays. This will also of course apply to private vehicles parked on the taxi rank.
- The order will also apply to empty vehicles left on the taxi rank, both licensed and private. Drivers are reminded that if a vehicle is left unmanned on the rank and a space becomes available on the rank, the empty vehicle will hold up vehicles wishing to move forward.
Merlin Way Depot appointments
Drivers and proprietors of vehicles are reminded that arriving late for appointments without prior notice may incur cancellation of the appointment and a further re-appointment charge. If suitable notice of cancellation or lateness is given, or good reason for non-attendance, then any due payment may be deferred until a new appointment is made.
Please remember when calling the contact centre at Erewash Borough Council to make a note of the time of your appointment time. If in doubt please call the contact centre or the licensing office.
DfT warns of change in vehicle insurance law
A change in law announced today means that it is now a legal requirement for anyone who owns a car, van, motorbike, motor home or truck to have insurance at all times or to declare the vehicle off the road.
The DVLA will compare their records with the Motor Insurance Database (MID) to identify keepers of uninsured vehicles and those implications for drivers or employers caught out include:
- A fixed penalty of £100
- Their vehicle being clamped, seized and destroyed
- A court prosecution with a maximum fine of £1000
Right to work in the United Kingdom
The prevention of illegal migrant working in the UK is governed by sections 15 to 25 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006. As a result of this legislation and Department of Transport Best Practice Guidance the Council now has a responsibility to ensure that it only issues licenses to persons who have a legal entitlement to work in the United Kingdom.
Proof of the Right to Work in the UK must therefore always be provided when any new applications are received. This requirement is for all applicants for private hire operator, private hire driver and hackney carriage driver licences.
The Home Office, via the UK Border Agency, has compiled a list of documents which prove that an individual has the right to work in the UK. Documents will fall into either List 'A' or List 'B', and these lists can be found on the Home Office Border Agency's Website [PDF 188KB] or by contacting the licensing section.
An applicant will need to provide either:
- One document from List 'A'. These documents show an ongoing right to work in the UK.
- If you cannot produce a document from List 'A' then relevant documents from List 'B' must be submitted. These documents show a right to work in the UK for up to 12 months.
These documents must be original copies or photocopies - scanned documents and faxes for example are not acceptable.
Staying Safe whilst working
There is some important information and advice from the Department for Transport (DfT) regarding staying safe whilst at work. Please read the safety guidelines for Taxi Drivers. There are additional guidelines for Private Hire drivers.
The Health Act 2006 and smoking
Please be aware that since the passing of the Health Act 2006 smoking is no longer permitted in licensed vehicles that transport members of the public. For details of the legislation and the penalties for smoking in your vehicle please see Smoking in licensed vehicles [PDF 5KB] and Newsletter [PDF 48KB]. See also the Smokefree Policy [PDF 407KB] for Premises and Signage [PDF 49KB].
Making seatbelt and number plates consistent for all drivers
Changes to fixed penalties and penalty deposits for seatbelt and number plate offences have been announced by Road Safety Minister Mike Penning and came in to force on 1 February 2011. Please read the attached guidance [PDF 16KB] for more clarification.
The Equality Act 2010
From 1 October 2010, the Equality Act 2010 was introduced which may change the way you are required to work. The Act will introduce duties on drivers of designated wheelchair accessible vehicles and private hire vehicles (PHV's) to provide physical assistance to passengers in wheelchairs. A further announcement will be made on when the duties will come into force, but it will not be before April 2011. Please read the current advice for licensing authorities [PDF 22KB].
Taxi rank regulations
We would like to remind drivers of the regulations and etiquette regarding the use of hackney carriage taxi ranks. Please rind the guidance on the Use of ranks [PDF 5KB].
We would like to remind drivers of certain regulations that are causing the licensing department some concern. Firstly the rules concerning late renewal applications - this is still happening and drivers are being taken off the road because they have not followed Council guidelines [PDF 6KB].
Secondly we would remind drivers and vehicle owners that ONLY persons holding a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver's licence issued by Erewash Borough Council may drive a licensed vehicle. Spouses, other family members or friends may NOT drive the vehicle under any circumstances. Any insurance policy on the vehicle would be invalid should the vehicle be involved in an accident whilst being driven by an unlicensed driver.