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Changes to Legislation - Equality Act 2010 - Transporting wheelchair users and assistance dogs

The Equality Act 2010 places licensed drivers under a legal duty to transport wheelchair users and assisstance dogs as required. Further details are outlined below.

Accessibility for wheelchair users in licensed vehicles

Section 165 and section 167 of the Equality Act 2010 came into force on 6th April 2017 and aims to prevent discrimination against wheelchair users by hackney carriage and  private hire drivers.

Section 167 of the Equality Act 2010 provides Licensing Authorities with the power to make a list of wheelchair accessible vehicles so wheelchair users are made aware of the accessibility of hackney carriages  and private hire vehicles within the Borough of Erewash.

Drivers of hackney carriages and private hire vehicles designated by the licensing authority as being wheelchair accessible must comply with the requirements of Section 165 of the Equality Act 2010, unless they have been issued with an exemption certificate (see below).

The duties under section 165 are:

  • to carry the passenger while in the wheelchair
  • not to make any additional charge for doing so
  • if the passenger chooses to sit in a passenger seat to carry the wheelchair
  • to take such steps as necessary to ensure that the passenger is carried in safety and reasonable comfort
  • to give the passenger such mobility assistance as is reasonably required.

Mobility assistance is defined as:

  • to enable the passenger to get into or out of the vehicle
  • if the passenger wishes to remain in the wheelchair, to enable the passenger to get into and out of the vehicle while in the wheelchair
  • to load the passenger’s luggage into or out of the vehicle
  • if the passenger does not wish to remain in the wheelchair, to load the wheelchair into or out of the vehicle.

It is an offence for a driver of a wheelchair accessible vehicle not to comply with the above duties. Any failure to comply with these duties will be treated very seriously and may result in prosecution and/or referral to the Drvers' Licensing Panel for consideration of their private hire driver’s licence.

Section 166 of the Equality Act 2010 allows the Licensing Authority to exempt drivers from the duties to assist passengers in wheelchairs if they are satisfied that it is appropriate to do so on medical grounds or because the driver's physical condition makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for him or her to comply with the duties.

Any driver of a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle on the designated list may submit a request for an exemption from the section 165 duties by completing the application form below and undertaking a medical examination. Medical evidence from the driver's own doctor will be required in support of the application. If ta driver obtains an exemption from these requirements then a 'Notice of Exemption' must be displayed on the front windscreen.

Medical Exemption Application Form - Equality Act 2010

The current list of wheelchair accessible vehicles licensed by this Licensing Authority is listed below:

Taxis are those available for immediate hire from ranks within the Erewash District. Any private hire vehicles can be pre-booked via the operator (Subject to availability). It may be advisable to contact the operator before booking to see whether a vehicle satisfies your requirements if you think your wheelchair may exceed the average dimensions of a 'reference' wheelchair.

The regulations regarding the carrying of assistance dogs

Sections 168 to 171 of the Equality Act 2010 (The 'Act') deal with the carriage of guide dogs and other assistance dogs in England and Wales and came into force on 1 October 2010. Prior to 2010 similar provisions had been contained in the Disability and Discrimination Act 1995.

The Act requires drivers to carry guide dogs (and other assistance dogs) at no extra cost. Furthermore, the driver or operator must not treat the assistance dog owner less favourably because of their impairment.

A driver can apply to be exempt from this requirement, but only if they have a genuine medical condition and this is supported by sufficient evidence. Under such circumstances the council may exempt the driver from the requirement to carry assistance dogs. If an exemption has been issued to the driver then a Notice of Exemption must be prominently displayed on the front windscreen.

Medical Exemption Application Form - Equality Act 2010

A guide to 'Assistance Dogs in the UK'  (produced by Transport for London) provides a brief summary of the different types of assistance dogs and how to identify them.

If you are a member of the public wishing to make a complaint under the Equality Act 2010 please contact the licensing authority using the number at the bottom of the page.

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.

Please read the Guidance Booklet - Drivers and Guidance Booklet - Vehicles for more information.

DVLA Counterpart

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 7 September 2017 licensing officers from Erewash Borough Council attended an enforcement exercise at the East Midlands Airport. Taxis and private hire vehicles from  different authorities were checked throughout the day by licensing officers from 11 different councils and teams from the DVSA and Leicestershire police.

A total of 138 vehicles (including 5 licensed by Erewash) were stopped and checked at a location within East Midlands Airport. The results were as listed below:

  • DVSA issued 4 prohibition notices to taxis for bald tyres and a worn C/V gaitor.
  • One driver was issued with a fixed penalty for using  a tyre below the legal limit.
  • 2 public service vehicles were dealt with by the DVSA, one of which was issued with a prohibition notice due to issues with it's tachograph.
  • 2 drivers were reported by police for having no road tax
  • Some vehicles were identified as having minor faults such as bulbs out or no fire extinguisher on board.
  • 120 vehicles had no mechanical defects that were identified.

During the initaitive, a private vehilce (not a taxi) was flagged up by the police on the ANPR. This vehicle was stoppped and was found to have no road tax, no insurance and no MOT. The tyres were below the legal limit and the engine faulty. The driver did not have a DVLA licence and was reported by police.

On Tuesday 7 March 2017 at the Gallows Inn recreation ground, Ilkeston, and on Thursday 16 March 2017 at West Park, Long Eaton licensing officers and neighbourhood wardens from Erewash Borough Council took part in two joint exercises with DVLA, DVSA and Derbyshire police.

Th exercise was to check cars and vans for tax, insurance, vehicle defects and appropriate environmental permits. Eight taxis licensed by Erewash were checked by officers and one infringement notice was issued. This infringemnet was later resolved the same day.

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.

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.

If any taxi operator or company wishes to apply for the Derbyshire Trusted Trader scheme they can either see the brief overview on their website, or alternatively contact Kevin Smith at Trading Standards on 01629 539833 or by email at kevin.smith@derbyshire.gov.uk

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. 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

  1. If the driver is charged with or convicted of any criminal offence
  2. If the driver has been formally interviewed under caution at a police station for any offence which you are suspected of having committed
  3. If the driver has been cautioned for any offence
  4. 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/Summer 2017 is now available to view.

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

Immigration Act 2016 - Right to work in the United Kingdom

The Immigration Act 2016 was introduced as law on 1 December  2016 and this has meant that we have had to make some changes to how we process new and renewal applications for all taxi drivers. Please see the government guidance for local authorities.

Under Schedule 5 of the Immigration Act 2016, all councils must now make sure that licences are not issued to people who do not have a right to a licence.  This includes those illegally present in the UK, those not permitted to work in the UK, or those permitted to work in the UK but who are subject to a condition that stops them from holding a hackney carriage/private hire licence driver's licence.

The checks that we now have to complete are for people of all nationalities, including UK citizens and must be completed by everyone who wants to apply for a hackney carriage/private hire driver's  licence or a private hire operator's licence. 

This means that licensing officers will now need to see proof of right to work in the UK for every new applicant and every existing licence holder. Please see the list of the documents that will be required, or contact the licensing team if you need further information about what documents are acceptable to prove the right to work in the UK.  Original documents only will be accepted. We cannot accept photocopies.

The licensing team will aim to avoid duplicating or repeatedly checking documents.  However, the checks have to be done for every new applicant and also for every licence driver renewal for existing licence holders in the future.

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 and Newsletter. See also the Smokefree Policy for Premises and Signage.

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 for more clarification.

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.

Regulation reminders

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.

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.

 

Erewash Borough Council

Erewash Borough Council, Town Hall, Wharncliffe Road, Ilkeston, Derbyshire, DE7 5RP 0115 907 2244