5. Hackney carriage and private hire licensing changes from 1 October 2015
Earlier this year the government introduced two deregulation measures relating to the hackney carriage and private hire trade.
From the 1 October 2015 we now offer as standard three year driver licences for hackney carriage and private hire drivers and five year private hire operator licences.
The cost is obviously higher than applying for an annual licence but you will make savings over the long term and you will not need to worry about renewing so frequently. You still, at the moment, have the option to apply for an annual licence if you prefer. Vehicle licences will continue to be issued annually.
You can look at the fees for the longer term licences.
Those drivers deciding to take a 3 year driver’s licence will still be required to allow us to carry out an annual review of their driving record. We have therefore adopted a policy of requiring all drivers to produce their DVLA driving licence and share their electronic driving licence record with the licensing authority at initial application, at each renewal and at the end of year one and two of a three year hackney carriage or private hire driver’s licence.
In the case of licensed drivers we require a fresh medical report (Group 2 Standard – same as a heavy good vehicle driver) and a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check every three years. These checks are run independently of the renewal process so they will be unaffected.
Private hire operator sub contracts
From the 1 October 2015 the deregulation now allows private hire operators to sub-contract bookings to other operator who are licensed with other councils. Previously, sub-contracting could only take place between firms licensed in the same district.
Hackney carriage and private hire licensing fees
To coincide with the introduction of the longer driver and operator licences we have introduced an amended licence fee list. In addition to introducing fees for the longer term licences we have not changed the taxi licensing fees for 3 years so have taken the opportunity to review them as a whole.
Changes to hackney carriage and private hire expiry dates
Currently all hackney carriage licences expire on the 31 October annually and all private hire licences expire annually on the 31 May. Whilst these time schedules have proved useful in the past we are aware that a more flexible system allowing for the expiry dates to be spread throughout the year will benefit both licence holders and ourselves by allowing resources and costs to be spread across the year rather than renewal administration and costs/fees being concentrated twice a year in October and May.
We have therefore taken the opportunity presented with the introduction from the 1 October of the 3 and 5 year licences to change the council’s policy on a single annual expiry date for all taxi licences and move to a monthly expiry date (12 per year). This means for example where a three year licence is issued to run from a date in July 2016 it would expire on 30 June 2019 and thereafter on the 30 June at three year intervals. Similarly a one year vehicle licence issued to run from the 26 February would expire the following year at the end of January and then annually on the 31 January.