Published on 9th August 2017
Council officers and representatives from the taxi and private hire licensed trade have been meeting over the last few months as part of a series of working groups to review the current licensing policy.
There were a number of outcomes as a result of these working group meetings that will form part of a proposed revised licensing policy.
One recently raised issue of particular concern was that some hackney carriage drivers licensed by Cheltenham Borough Council are working excessive hours. Due to the potential public safety implications, this issue will be included as part of the licencing policy review.
The council as licensing authority has a statutory duty to protect the public and only licence people that are deemed to be ‘fit and proper’. If working practices compromise public safety, this calls into question whether that person is a ‘fit and proper’ driver.
There are no national standards or statutory regulations that strictly govern working hours for licensed taxi and private hire drivers.
Since the council is already in the process of undertaking a review of its taxi licensing policy it took the opportunity to also review its current standards for drivers to ensure that these remain adequate to ensure public safety is maintained at all times.
The council will be proposing a number of changes to its licensing policy including some that could impose stricter criteria on drivers licensed by Cheltenham Borough Council.
In light of the recent issues flagged with regards to excessive working hours by licensed drivers, the council will shortly be launching a public consultation on the following proposals:
- Amending licence conditions to set out a reasonable expectation on working hours for licence holders, implementing a mechanism whereby licence holders may need to keep a record of their working hours and to submit these records to the council
- Adopting a code of good practice for licensed drivers setting out the council’s expectations on safe working practices and the implications for non-compliance with the code
- Including sanctions for unsafe working practices in a proposed penalty points scheme for licence holders
Councillor Andrew McKinlay, cabinet member for development and safety, said: “Public safety always has been and continues to be our priority. We have a duty to protect the public and in light of the issues raised by the taxi drivers, we must respond appropriately.
“Cabinet will consider a report by officers in September on measures to address working practices as part of the wider taxi policy review. These proposals will be subject to consultation.”
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