Published on 13th March 2023

row of taxis at taxi rank in Cheltenham

Private hire vehicles coming to Cheltenham Festival are asked to only pick up pre-booked customers.

As Cheltenham’s four-day jump racing festival begins tomorrow (Tuesday 14 to 17 March 2023) the town will buzz with activity.

Private hire drivers are being warned by the council’s licensing team that they should only come to Cheltenham this week for the purposes of fulfilling legitimate pre-bookings.  The council’s licensing team will be undertaking test purchasing operations and drivers found guilty of illegally plying for hire face fines of £1000 and the prospect of losing their licence.

Cllr Martin Horwood, member for customer regulatory services said: ‘’The council continues to take a zero tolerance approach to unlawful taxi activity. Private hire vehicle drivers should not be tempted to try and ply for hire and take cash work on the side. Our enforcement officers will continue to carry out spot checks and monitor activity during major race meets. The council will again seek to prosecute any unsafe or unlicensed taxis chancing their luck during the 2023 Cheltenham Festival.’’

Racegoers are advised to prebook licensed vehicles or use the authorised taxi ranks as by law, all vehicles plying for hire at taxi ranks or on the streets in Cheltenham must be licensed by Cheltenham Borough Council.

Jason Kirkwood licensing team leader said: ‘’We see scenarios each year with members of the public who’ve had a great day and now just want to get home or back to the hotel. We see private-hire drivers trying their luck and our message is clear, without a booking for a private hire vehicle the insurance that protect passengers will often be invalid and the driver is acting illegally. We want people to get home safely – please use a taxi or a booked private hire vehicle.

‘’Our team will be actively checking licensed vehicles and drivers working during race week with the help from colleagues at Gloucestershire Constabulary, Avon and Somerset Constabulary, South Glos Council, Tewkesbury Borough Council and Wolverhampton Council.’’

Drivers licensed by Cheltenham Borough Council are checked and considered ‘fit and proper’ to get people home safely. This means the vehicles have been checked and are MOT’d and insured. If anyone has a reason to complain about a taxi they are advised to take note of the licence plate number on the rear of the vehicle and if possible which council is stamped on the plate, and contact that council’s licensing team

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