Taxi policy and practice
You can download a copy of theor view the full policy below.
The policy provides information and guidance regarding all aspects of taxi licensing, such as the relevance of applicant convictions and the code of good conduct.
The Policy Appendices
|Appendix E - Drivers - The Relevance of Convictions|
|Appendix M - Hearing Procedures||Appendix N - Hackney Carriage Stands|
|Request for information and disclosure policy (Appendix Q)|
1.1 Powers and Duties
The licensing of hackney carriages dates back to 1847 and for private hire vehicles (outside London) to 1976.
1.1.2 The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, as amended, ("the 1976 Act") places on Preston City Council as the Licensing Authority (the "Authority") the duty to carry out its licensing functions in respect of hackney carriages and private hire vehicles.
1.1.3 The licensing policy sets out that the Authority will apply when making decisions about new applications and licences currently in force.
1.1.4 Regulation makes our society more secure. It protects consumers and employees, it protects businesses and it protects the environment.
1.1.5 Better regulation means maintaining and improving consumer protection and at the same time providing the right environment for business to thrive. It shall be undertaken in a way that is effective, does not create unnecessary burdens, and is consistent, transparent, proportionate, accountable and targeted.
1.2.1 Hackney carriage and private hire vehicles play a vital and integral part of the transport network. They are commonly used by younger people, those on low incomes without access to motor vehicles and women between the ages of 16 and 20.
They also provide services in situations where other forms of transport are either not available (rural areas and late evenings) or for persons with mobility difficulties.
We shall seek to promote the following objectives that impact on these trades:
(i) the protection of the public;
(ii) consideration of accessibility issues across all equality groups in support of the Authority's commitment to the Public Equality Duty and the Equality Act 2010;
(iii) the establishment of professional and respected hackney carriage and private hire trades;
(iv) access to an efficient and effective public transport service; and
(v) the protection of the environment.
We shall seek to promote the following objectives that impact on these trades:
(i) the protection of the public;
(ii) consideration of accessibility issues across all equality groups in support of the Council's commitment to the Public Equality Duty and the Equality Act 2010;
(iii) the establishment of professional and respected hackney carriage and private hire trades;
(iv) access to an efficient and effective public transport service; and
(v) the protection of the environment.
1.2.2 We aim to regulate the trades in such a way to promote its objectives. It is the Council's wish to facilitate well run and responsible businesses, which display sensitivity to the expectations and needs of the general public.
1.2.3 When considering each of the policies detailed in this document regard has been given to the statutory Code of Practice for Regulators and Preston City Council's Corporate Enforcement Policy in order to ensure that each requirement is properly justified by the risk it seeks to address, balancing the cost of the requirement against the benefit to the public.
1.3 Best Practice Guidance
1.3.1 In formulating this policy, advice contained in the Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing: Best Practice Guidance issued by the Department for Transport in February 2010 has assisted us.
1.3.2 However, local circumstances and requirements have been taken into account in this policy.
1.4.1 In exercising its discretion in carrying out its regulatory functions, we shall have regard to this policy document and the objectives set out above.
1.4.2 Notwithstanding the existence of this policy, each application or enforcement measure will be considered on its own merits. Where it is necessary for the Authority to depart substantially from its policy, clear and compelling reasons shall be given for doing so.
1.5.1 This policy shall take effect from April 2013 for a period of approximately three years and the Authority expects licence holders to comply with its terms immediately.
1.5.2 The Authority will keep this policy under review and will consult where appropriate on proposed revisions.
1.5.3 From the effective date this policy will override and supersede all existing policies in relation to hackney carriage and private hire licensing.
1.6 Licensing Profile
1.6.1 A hackney carriage is a public transport vehicle with no more than 8 passenger seats, which is licensed to ply for hire. This means that it may stand at ranks or be hailed in the street by members of the public. Private hire vehicles too must have no more than 8 passenger seats but they must be booked in advance by customers through an operator and may not ply for hire in the street.
1.6.2 We currently licence 187 hackney carriages and approximately 430 private hire vehicles as well as 23 private hire operators.
1.6.3 It has approximately 275 persons licensed to drive hackney carriages and 500 persons licensed to drive private hire vehicles.
1.7.1 In preparing this policy we have consulted with the following:
- Licence holders
- Local trade organisations
- Local transport providers
- Inclusion Reference Group (Disability groups)
- Lancashire Constabulary
- Lancashire County Council
- General public
- South Ribble and Chorley Borough Councils
- Parish Councils
- Central Lancashire Primary Care Trust
- University of Central Lancashire
- Other Authority departments
1.8 Partnership Working
1.8.1 The Authority will work in partnership with the following agencies to promote the policy objectives:
- Local hackney carriage and private hire trades
- Lancashire Constabulary
- Local residents
- Disability groups
- Service users
- Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA)
- Lancashire County Council
- HM Revenue and Customs
- Department of Works and Pensions
- Other Authority departments
1.8.2 The Authority shall meet regularly with representatives of the hackney carriage and private hire trades to consider regulatory issues.
2.1 Limitation of Numbers
2.1.1 No powers exist for licensing authorities to limit the number of private hire vehicles that they licence.
The current legal provision on quantity restrictions for hackney carriages is set out in section 16 of the Transport Act 1985. This provides that the grant of a hackney carriage licence may be refused, for the purpose of limiting the number of licensed hackney carriages "if, but only if, the local authority is satisfied that there is no significant demand for the services of hackney carriages (within the area to which the licence would apply) which is unmet."
2.1.2 The Council is satisfied that there is no significant unmet demand for the services of hackney carriages. An independent survey was last undertaken in 2008 and the policy reviewed in 2012/13.
2.1.3 The Council shall limit the number of hackney carriages it licences to 187 and it shall determine whether there is any significant unmet demand at regular intervals.
2.2 Specifications and Conditions
2.2.1 Local licensing authorities have a wide range of discretion over the types of vehicle that they can licence as hackney carriage or private hire vehicles.
2.2.2 Government guidance suggests that they should adopt the principle of specifying as many different types of vehicle as possible and are encouraged to make use of the "type approval" rules within any vehicle specifications they adopt.
2.2.3 We generally licence the purpose built "London type cab" as a hackney carriage but also allows alternative vehicles to be licensed as hackney carriages subject to the vehicle specifications.
2.2.4 We shall impose such conditions as it considers reasonably necessary on hackney carriage and private hire vehicle licences. These vehicles provide a service to the public, so it is appropriate to set criteria for the standard of the external and internal conditions of the vehicle, provided that these are not unreasonable.
2.2.5 Appendix A to this policy sets out the specification and minimum standards in respect of hackney carriages and Appendix B to this policy sets out the specification and minimum standards for private hire vehicles.
2.2.6 Vehicles shall be licensed for the carriage of between four and eight passengers. Applications in relation to vehicles that wish to accommodate less than four passengers shall be referred to the Taxi and Miscellaneous Sub-Committee.
2.3.1 Hackney carriages and private hire vehicles are an essential mode of transport for disabled and older people.
The combination of the personal service they offer, their wide availability and door to door operations enable them to respond particularly well to the travel needs of people with disabilities.
2.3.2 All licensed hackney carriages shall be wheelchair accessible.
2.3.3 We are committed to social inclusion and ensuring a wide variety of opportunities is available to those with mobility difficulties in order to enjoy a high quality of life. It fully supports the view of the Equality and Human Rights Commission that:
"Making successful journeys is critical to the social inclusion of disabled people. Without the ability to travel, disabled people are denied access to life opportunities. Their access to education, shopping, employment, healthcare, as well as social and family life is significantly improved when journeys become accessible."
For this reason, we consider it important that people with disabilities have access to all forms of public transportation.
2.3.4 Disabled persons are reported to travel approximately a third less than those who are not disabled, but use hackney carriages and private hire vehicles approximately 67% more.
The Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee report that:
"For a large and growing number of elderly and disabled people, they are quite literally a lifeline. Often taxis provide the only means of accessible local transport, or the only accessible link to long distance transport, for example, by rail or air. In fact, they are the most flexible form of public transport there is."
2.3.5 Since 4 December 2006 licensed drivers have a duty to ensure disabled people are not discriminated against or treated less favourably.
A Code of Practice produced by the Equality and Human Rights Commission explains these duties and is available from the Authority's website.
2.3.6 Another good practice guide,"Making private hire services more accessible to disabled people" has been produced by the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee.
2.3.7 Since 2007 applicants for hackney carriage and private hire driver licences in Preston have received disability awareness training as part of the requirement to attain a BTEC Level 2 qualification "Introduction to the Role of the Professional Taxi and Private Hire Driver".
Since May 2011 the course was amended to include a practical session and assessment in loading, securing and unloading wheelchair passengers. It is the Council's desire that all licensed drivers should receive such practical training.
2.4 Maximum Age of Vehicles
2.4.1 We shall support any local environmental initiatives such as setting vehicle emissions standards or promoting cleaner fuels.
2.4.2 We have considered a proposal to introduce an age limit for licensed vehicles. However, it considers the cost of such a proposal to the trades is not justified by the risk it seeks to address because the introduction of more stringent monitoring and enforcement measures for vehicle proprietors and vehicle testing stations will raise the standard of licensed vehicles.
2.5 Vehicle Testing
2.5.1 We need to be satisfied that licensed vehicles operating within its area are safe to do so.
2.5.2 Hackney carriage and private hire vehicles are granted licences for a maximum period of 6 months. Prior to being granted a licence each vehicle shall be examined and tested at a vehicle testing station approved by the Council.
2.5.3 We shall introduce an "Approved List" of vehicle testing stations to include no more than three vehicle testing stations and that this list be reviewed every three years.
2.5.4 Licensed vehicles that fail an authorised examination and test, and, is deemed unsafe as a passenger vehicle by the vehicle examiner, may result in the vehicle proprietor or driver being issued with a stop notice in order to prevent the vehicle being used to carry passengers until the defect(s) is/are remedied.
2.6.1 Hackney carriage vehicles shall be fitted with calendar controlled taximeters, approved and sealed by a recognised agent.
2.6.2 We would like to introduce a requirement that if a private hire vehicle is fitted with a taximeter, that taximeter shall be calendar controlled, approved and sealed by a recognised agent. We shall consult with the trade and other stakeholders and make a decision during the life of this policy.
2.7 Signage and Advertising
2.7.1 It is important that the public should be able to identify and understand the difference between a hackney carriage and a private hire vehicle.
2.7.2 Private hire vehicles shall not be permitted to display roof-mounted signs and any signs that include the words "Taxi" or "Cab" or "For Hire" or any words or words of similar meaning, whether alone or part of another word.
2.7.3 Roof signs fitted to hackney carriage vehicles shall be illuminated at all times when the vehicle is available for hire.
2.7.4 Vehicle identification plates are a key feature in helping to identify vehicles that are properly licensed.
2.7.5 All licensed vehicles, except those private hire vehicles deemed Prestige Vehicles by the Council, shall display plates on both the front and rear of the vehicle.
2.7.6 Private hire vehicles shall display door signs indicating that they must be booked in advance and separate signs indicating details of the operator (Company).
2.7.7 Magnetic door signage shall not be permitted.
2.7.8 Vehicles shall not be allowed to display written or other material on any window with the exception of those permitted by the conditions of licence.
2.7.9 Licensed vehicle proprietors shall not display or allow to be displayed in or on their vehicles any signs, notices, advertisements, video or audio display etc either for the purpose of advertising or by way of identifying or personalising marks. However, we will consider waiving this prohibition on application from hackney carriage vehicle proprietor licence holders in accordance with the terms of these conditions outlined in section 24 of Appendix A.
2.8 Driver Safety
2.8.1 The trades provide a valuable service, particularly late at night when other forms of public transport are not available. Security for drivers and passengers is of paramount importance.
Licensed drivers deal with strangers, often in isolated places and carry cash and may be at risk of violence and other offences such as non-payment of fares, verbal and racist abuse.
2.8.2 There are a number of ways to reduce the risks such as pre-payment of fares, driver screens,CCTV surveillance systems and radio link schemes.
2.8.3 It is not proposed that measures such as CCTV should be required, as part of the licensing regime, as it is considered that they are best left to the judgement of the owners and drivers themselves. The hackney carriage and private hire trades are, however, encouraged to consider the installation of CCTV systems in their vehicles on a voluntary basis.
2.8.4 CCTV security systems for the purpose of assisting driver safety are permitted in vehicles. If such devices are fitted, adequate signage shall be displayed in the passenger compartment advising passengers that they are being monitored / recorded.
Any such equipment shall be fitted overtly and in such a way as not to present any danger or hazard to any passenger. It will be the driver / proprietors' responsibility to comply with all aspects of the law regarding such surveillance equipment.
2.8.5 In any licensed vehicle where a CCTV security system is fitted, the proprietor shall ensure that the system is properly maintained and serviced to ensure clear images are recorded. It is recommended that a minimum of two warning signs should be displayed prominently inside vehicles to be easily seen by passengers.
2.8.6 The Government has produced two short guidance documents entitled"Staying Safe" which describe measures that drivers can take to prevent violence as well as offering practical advice on what can be done in the event of a threat or violent incident.
2.9 Application Procedures
2.9.1 Application procedures are not prescribed but shall be made on the specified application form in accordance with the application procedure set out in Appendix D to this policy.
2.10 Consideration of Applications
2.10.1 We shall consider all applications on their own merits once it is satisfied that the appropriate criteria have been met and the application form and supporting documents are complete. We shall seek to issue licences no later than 5 working days after the receipt of valid applications.
2.11 Renewal of Licences
2.11.1 Existing licence holders shall be given prior notice of licence expiry dates together with application forms to renew licences. However, it is the licence holder's responsibility to ensure that licences are renewed prior to their expiry. Application procedures are outlined in Appendix D of this policy.
2.12 Intended Use Policy for the Licensing of Hackney Carriages
2.12.1 Applicants for the grant, renewal and transfer of hackney carriage vehicle proprietor licences will be expected to demonstrate a bona fide intention that the vehicle will be used to ply for hire within the administrative area of Preston City Council.
There will be a presumption that applicants who do not intend that the vehicle will be used to a material extent to ply for hire within the administrative area of Preston City Council will not be granted a hackney carriage vehicle proprietor licence authorising them to do so. However, each application will be determined on its merits.
2.12.2 We have a duty to ensure that it licences vehicles in line with High Court guidance, which includes the requirement that hackney carriages mostly operate in the Authority area, in the interests of public safety. If vehicle proprietors are not operating as agreed this undermines these safeguards and means they cannot be effectively monitored to ensure the vehicles are safe. Further details are attached at Appendix O.
2.13 Environmental Considerations
2.13.1 Hackney carriages and private hire vehicles are an essential form of transport in the Preston area. Many people depend on hackney carriages for trips that other forms of transport are incapable of making. They are able to achieve higher occupancy rates than a saloon car and so, to some extent, already play their part in helping to achieve environmental improvements in the City. It is, however, clearly important that emissions from licensed vehicles are reduced as far as possible.
2.13.2 It is therefore paramount that efforts should be made to improve, as far as possible, the efficiency of licensed vehicles by, in particular, reducing the levels of CO2 emitted.
2.13.3 Emissions from licensed vehicles can be reduced by regular maintenance of vehicles and by switching off engines when stationary or idling, particularly at ranks.
2.13.4 We would support initiatives which would be beneficial to the environment such as taxi sharing schemes and taxi and private hire vehicle buses.
2.14 Stretched Limousines
2.14.1 Stretched limousines are elongated saloon cars that have been increasingly used for mainstream private hire work.
The number of stretched limousines being imported, particularly from the United States of America, has been increasing.
Their use generally includes all private hire work plus special occasions such as days at the races, stag and hen parties and children's birthday parties.
2.14.2 We have generally considered there to be some problems preventing stretched limousines from being licensed including:
- some of the vehicles are capable of carrying more than eight passengers;
- many of them are left-hand drive;
- many are fitted with all round darkened glass;
- many have been converted or modified after manufacture;
- seating space per passenger is 460mm and could give a greater capacity than eight persons; and
- due to their origin many parts may not be available making adequate maintenance difficult.
2.14.3 Most limousines are imported for commercial purposes and are therefore required to take a Single Vehicle Type Approval (SVA) test.
The SVA Scheme is an Inspection Scheme for vehicles that are not approved to British and European Standards and its purpose is to ensure that these vehicles meet modern safety standards and environmental standards before being used on public roads.
When presented for SVA the vehicle is produced with a declaration that it will never carry more than eight passengers.
The importer must inform any person who may use it of this restriction. Any subsequent purchasers must also be informed of the restriction.
2.14.4 Any stretched limousines, which are offered for private hire, do of course require a licence.
Some operators of these vehicles have a wedding car licence insurance policy on the basis that the vehicle will be used largely during daylight hours, once or twice per week. Before licensing for private hire a full policy for private hire purposes will, therefore, be required.
2.14.5 Applications to licence stretched limousines as private hire vehicles will be treated on their merits. It is, however, proposed that imported stretched limousine type vehicles:
- be granted an exemption from the requirement under the of licence for private hire vehicles to be right-hand drive;
- be authorised as prestige type private hire vehicles; and
- be approved for licensing as private hire vehicles subject to the additional conditions detailed in Appendix C;
2.15 Contract Vehicles
2.15.1 The Road Safety Act 2006 requires vehicles used for a contract with an organisation or company, for carrying passengers for hire or reward under a contract, to be licensed as private hire vehicles.
As a general guide this shall include executive hire, chauffeur services, park and ride for private car parks, airport travel, stretch limousines and novelty vehicles.
2.16 Prestige Type Vehicles
2.16.1 Proprietors of prestige type vehicles licensed as private hire vehicles or private hire vehicles used in special circumstances may seek the permission of the Authority to waive conditions of their licence relating to the display of licence plates, door stickers and driver badges.
3.1 Parallel Procedures
3.1.1 The statutory and practical criteria and qualifications for a private hire driver are similar to those for a hackney carriage driver. The sections below, therefore, apply equally to private hire and hackney carriage drivers unless indicated.
3.2.1 We require that separate driver's licences be held in respect of driving hackney carriage and private hire vehicles. Licences shall be issued for a maximum period of 12 months but we shall grant licences for a lesser period if deemed appropriate.
3.2.2 - Applicants shall be over 18 years of age and shall have held a full driving licence issued in the UK, the European Community (EC) or one of the other countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) for at least 12 months. In addition to the above, licensed drivers who hold a EC/EEA driving licence shall obtain a GB counterpart document If this document cannot be produced with the next renewal application then it shall be produced within 3 months of the licence being issued.
3.2.3 We shall also use the services of an appropriate third party to access DVLA records of applicants.
3.2.4 Applicants shall make a declaration that they have a statutory right to work in the UK and any applicant that has a limited right to work shall not be issued a driver licence for a period longer than that limited period.
3.3 Topographical Knowledge (Driver Knowledge Tests)
3.3.1 Hackney carriage drivers need a good working knowledge of the area for which they are licensed, because they can be hired directly, at ranks or on the street. We also consider it necessary for private hire drivers to know the area.
3.3.2 In order to assist us in determining the fitness of an applicant to hold a hackney carriage or private hire driver's licence, applicants are required to undertake a communications test to challenge their understanding of the English language and a local knowledge test to challenge their knowledge of the highway system in Preston.
3.3.3 If applicants fail four successive local knowledge tests then they shall be required to wait at least four weeks before being permitted to take a fifth test.
3.3.4 Applicants that fail a test must pay a resit fee prior to the test date and any applicant cancelling the test with less than 24 hours notice will not be refunded the fee.
3.4 Driving Proficiency
3.4.1 The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) provides a driving assessment specifically designed for hackney carriage and private hire drivers.
3.4.2 We believe that the standard DVLA driving test provides sufficient evidence of driving competency for drivers of hackney carriage and private hire vehicles in Preston. It is considered that introducing a requirement that drivers pass the specific DSA test would not produce benefits which are commensurate with the costs involved.
3.5 Driver Qualification
3.5.1 We believe all passenger transport drivers whose role demands high standards in driving and customer service would benefit from a nationally recognised qualification that includes customer care, including how best to meet the needs of people with disabilities and other sections of the community and also topics such as the relevant legislation, road safety, the use of maps and GPS, the handling of emergencies and how to defuse difficult situations and manage conflict.
3.5.2 As such, applicants shall be required to attain the BTEC Level 2 Certificate Introduction to the Role of the Professional Taxi and Private Hire Driver (QCF). However, a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in Road Passenger Vehicle Driving will also be acceptable.
3.5.3 This vocational qualification has been developed to enhance customer service and driving standards for the passenger transport industry.
3.5.4 Drivers licensed prior to the introduction of the application requirement referred to in paragraph 3.5.2 above shall be encouraged to attain an NVQ in Road Passenger Vehicle Driving Level 2.
3.6 Medical Examination
3.6.1 We recognise that licensed drivers should have more stringent medical standards than those applicable to normal car drivers because they carry members of the public who have expectations of a safe journey; they are on the road for longer hours than most car drivers; and they may have to assist disabled passengers and handle luggage and therefore requires Group 2 Standards of Medical Fitness as applied by the DVLA to the licensing of lorry and bus drivers, as the appropriate standard for licensed hackney carriage and private hire drivers.
3.6.2 Applicants shall provide a completed medical examination form supplied by the Council and completed by a general practitioner on first application and every 3 years thereafter until aged 70 years when annual examinations are required. Licence holders with medical conditions may also be required to submit annual forms and adhere to additional requirements in order for them to retain their driver's licence.
3.6.3 Holders of Public Service Vehicle (PSV) and/or Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) Licences, where the holder is able to produce proof of current medical examination less than 3 months old, shall not be required to undergo a medical examination on first application.
3.6.4 Licence holders shall advise us of any deterioration in their health that may affect their driving capabilities.
3.6.5 Where there is any doubt as to the medical fitness of the applicant, we may require the applicant to undergo and pay for a further medical examination by a Medical Doctor appointed by the Council.
3.6.6 Where there remains any doubt about the fitness of any applicant, the Taxi and Miscellaneous Sub-Committee will review the medical evidence and make any final decision in light of the medical evidence available.
3.6.7 No licence shall be issued until medical clearance (if required) has been established.
3.7 Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Disclosures
3.7.1 A criminal record check on a driver is seen as an important safety measure. Enhanced Disclosure through the Disclosure and Barring Service is required as these disclosures include details of live and spent convictions, police cautions and other relevant information that indicates that a person poses a risk to public safety.
3.7.2 The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 does not apply to applicants for both hackney and private hire drivers licences. They are required to disclose all convictions, including those that would normally be regarded as spent.
3.7.3 Before an application for a driver's licence will be considered, the applicant must provide details or provide access to criminal record details held by the DBS. Application procedures are detailed in Appendix D of this policy.
3.8 Relevance of Convictions and Cautions
3.8.1 In relation to the consideration of convictions and police cautions recorded against persons, we have adopted the policy set out in Appendix E.
3.8.2 In assessing whether the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold a licence, we shall consider each case on its merit. It will take account of cautions and convictions, whether spent or unspent, but only in so far as they are relevant to an application for a licence. When considering information provided by the DBS, a senior licensing officer will assess whether any or all of the convictions, cautions and any additional information received, is capable of having real relevance to the issue of whether or not the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold a licence in line with the policy at Appendix E.
3.9 Conditions of Licence
3.9.1 We are not permitted to attach conditions to a hackney carriage driver's licence. It is, however, empowered to attach such conditions to a private hire driver's licence as are considered necessary.
3.9.2 It could be argued that many of the requirements prescribed within the Hackney Carriage byelaws are effectively hackney carriage driver licence conditions. These are included at Appendix G.
3.9.3 We consider that the conditions of licence as set out in Appendix F are reasonable, necessary and appropriate for all licensed private hire drivers.
3.10 Code of Good Conduct
3.10.1 The standards expected of licensed drivers are set out in a Code of Good Conduct attached to this policy at Appendix H.
3.11 Dress Code
3.11.1 Anything that serves to enhance the professional image of the hackney carriage and private hire trade, and promotes the concept that drivers of licensed vehicles are vocational drivers is to be welcomed.
3.11.2 We have adopted a Dress Code for licensed drivers as set out in Appendix I.
4 Private Hire Operators
4.1 Requirements and Obligations
4.1.1 Any person who operates a private hire service must apply to the Council for a Private Hire Operator's Licence.
The objective in licensing private hire operators is the safety of the public, who will be using operators' premises, and vehicles and drivers, arranged through them.
4.1.2 A licensed hire vehicle shall only be despatched to a customer by a private hire operator who holds an operator's licence. Such a licence permits the operator to make provision for the invitation or acceptance of bookings for a licensed hire vehicle. A private hire operator shall ensure that every licensed hire vehicle is driven by a person who holds a licence issued by the same Authority that issued the vehicle licence.
4.1.3 Applications for Operator licences shall be made on the prescribed form, together with the appropriate fee. We will then decide whether the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold an Operator licence.
4.2 Criminal Record Checks
4.2.1 Private hire operators are not exceptions to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, so Standard or Enhanced disclosures cannot be required as a condition of grant of an operator's licence. However, a Basic Disclosure certificate from the Disclosure & Barring Service nevertheless is seen as appropriate.
4.3.1 We have power to impose such conditions on an operator's licence, as it considers reasonably necessary and these are set out at Appendix J.
4.4.1 Before an application for a private hire operator's licence is granted, the applicant shall produce evidence that they have taken out appropriate public liability insurance for the premises to be licensed. In certain circumstances it is a legal requirement to hold employers liability insurance.
4.5 Licence Duration
4.5.1 We shall grant private hire operator licences for a period of three years, subject to the power to grant a licence for a shorter period, should this be appropriate in the circumstances.
5 Disciplinary and Enforcement Measures
5.1.1 The Government believes that regulators should have access to effective sanctions that are flexible and proportionate and that ensure the protection of workers, consumers, and the environment when tackling non-compliance by businesses when their licences are due to be renewed.
5.1.2 It is recognised that a risk-based approach to enforcement by the Authority benefits not only the public but also the responsible members of the hackney carriage and private hire trades.
5.1.3 In pursuance of its objective to encourage responsible hackney carriage/private hire businesses, we shall operate a firm but fair disciplinary and enforcement regime. With a view to balancing the promotion of public safety with the need to permit individuals to safeguard their livelihood without undue interference, we will only intervene where it is necessary and proportionate to do so, having regard to the objectives outlined in section 1.2.1 on this page. Where defects are such that vehicles need to be immediately prohibited, livelihood interference is inevitable.
5.1.4 The Enforcement Policy as set out at Appendix K will ensure that the enforcement effort is reasonable, transparent and well directed.
5.2 Disciplinary Hearings
5.2.1 Disciplinary matters that are considered by the Council's Taxi and Miscellaneous Sub-Committee shall follow procedures as set out at Appendix M.
5.3 Penalty Points Scheme
5.3.1 We operate a penalty points scheme whereby points may be issued by authorised officers to licence holders who are found to be in breach of legislation, byelaws, this policy or conditions of licence as an alternative to legal proceedings. The scheme is attached to this policy at Appendix L.
5.4 Suspension of Vehicle Licences
5.4.1 Licensed vehicles shall be kept at all times in an efficient, safe, tidy and clean condition.
Compliance with the vehicle specifications and conditions of licence is essential and will be enforced by periodic, random vehicle inspections by the Council. Where it is found that any vehicle is not being properly maintained a Vehicle Defect Notice will be served on the vehicle proprietor setting out the defect(s) that need to be rectified and arrangements for the vehicle to be further inspected to check compliance.
This notice will be used by authorised officers where the defects are not deemed serious. Failure to comply with the requirements of the notice may result in the vehicle licence being suspended automatically.
5.4.2 Where public safety and comfort standards are likely to be imperilled by the defect(s) a Stop Notice shall be served on the vehicle proprietor who must take appropriate action to meet those standards.
Further use of the vehicle will be suspended until the defects have been remedied. The suspension will then not be lifted until the vehicle has undergone a further test, at the proprietor's expense, and / or been passed as fit for use by the Authority.
5.5 Revocation and Suspension of Licences
5.5.1 Where a licence holder has been referred to the Taxi and Miscellaneous Sub-Committee, the Sub-Committee may order the revocation or suspension of the licence.
5.6 Refusal to Renew
5.6.1 As an alternative to revocation, the Sub-Committee may decide that the appropriate action, in a situation where the licence is shortly to expire, is to order that the licence shall not be renewed.
5.7.1 We shall prosecute licence holders for relevant offences in accordance with the statutory Regulators Compliance Code and its own enforcement policy.
5.8.1 We have a complaints procedure whereby the general public can submit complaints about licensed drivers and operators and details are included in Appendix K.
6.1 The relevance of offences and convictions for prospective applicants is outlined in Appendix E and for existing licence holders in Appendix K.
7 Delegated Powers
7.1 Taxi and Miscellaneous Sub-Committee
7.1.1 The Taxi and Miscellaneous Sub-Committee of the Council is responsible for the management of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire licensing regime in the city. Policy matters are determined by the Cabinet Member for Planning and Regulation.
8.1.1 The Hackney Carriage Table of Fares ("the tariff") is set by us and are a maximum fare that can be charged by hackney carriage drivers which can be negotiated downwards by the hirer for journeys.
8.1.2 We shall review the tariff every 1 April. A notice of any variation to the maximum fare shall be advertised by the Council.
8.1.3 We are not able to set fares for private hire vehicles.
8.2 Table of Fares
8.2.1 A table of authorised maximum fares shall be provided to each hackney carriage licence holder, which must then be displayed in each vehicle so that it is easily visible to all hirers.
8.2.2 Private Hire Operators that use licensed vehicles fitted with a fare meter shall provide the Council with a current table of fares. This table must also be displayed in each private hire vehicle so that it is easily visible to all hirers.
8.3.1 Drivers shall, if requested by the passenger, provide written receipts for fares paid.
9.1 Fee Structure
9.1.1 The legislation provides that fees charged to applicants should be sufficient to cover the costs of inspecting the vehicles, providing hackney carriage stands (taxi ranks) and administering the regulation of the hackney carriages and private hire trades.
9.2 Payments, Refunds and Transfers
9.2.1 The appropriate fee must be paid when the application is submitted and that a charge will be levied to cover the administrative costs associated with the transfer of ownership of a vehicle.
9.2.2 Licences surrendered prior to their expiry shall not be eligible for a refund of the unexpired portion of the licence.
10 Hackney Carriage Stands
10.1 The purpose of hackney carriage stands (also known as taxi ranks) is to provide the public with a set location where they can hire a licensed hackney carriage. The stand is the only situation where a hackney carriage may ply for hire in a stationary position and shall be situated in locations where the public most need hackney carriages, for example adjacent to transport facilities, retail areas and places of employment, entertainment and leisure facilities.
Stands can be continual or part time use the consent of the Highway Authority is required for the location of ranks.
10.2 We shall work with the hackney carriage trade and other Stakeholders to keep stands under constant review. Details of all public taxi ranks in the city are attached at Appendix N.
11 Hackney Carriage Hailing Points
11.1 Hackney Carriage hailing points have been introduced in other parts of the country and are an alternative to a stand where there is insufficient space for a stand or the location does not justify the creation of a stand.
It is a specific location where the public know they will be able to hail a hackney carriage and the theory is that licensed drivers know where they are and will ensure they pass them on a regular basis. There is no provision for hackney carriages to wait at these locations.
11.2 Whilst there has been no request for the provision of hailing points in Preston the Council will consider such requests on their individual merits as they arise.