Worcester City Council has performed a U-turn on controversial plans to oblige taxi drivers to buy new cabs after their vehicles have been deemed “too old”. The Worcester Taxi Drivers Association had commenced legal proceedings challenging the proposed council policy in the High Court. Following talks with the Association, the council conceded that the policy will be changed. Councillor Paul Denham accepted “it would be unreasonable to have to find so much extra money to buy a brand new taxi.” New cabs can cost up to £40,000
Previously, Taxi drivers were required to change their vehicle every 12 years with a vehicle of at least 3 years old or less. The new policy would have forced taxi drivers to replace their vehicles with brand new vehicles.
The licenced taxi drivers had argued that the price difference between a 3 year old taxi and a brand new taxi is in the region of £10,000.
The Committee has also decided not to issue any further taxi licences until the numbers of existing driver’s decreases. The licensing authority has set a cap of 230 drivers. Currently, there are 263 hackney carriages taxi licence holders. The licensing authority has rigidly maintained that unless and until 34 drivers discontinue they would not issue any further Hackney Carriage driver licences.
However, the Worcester Taxi Driver’s Association eagerly await the new revised policy before considering whether legal action against the Council is still necessary.
The Worcester Council decision demonstrate how changes to a licensing authorities existing policy can often be arbitrary and lead to unfair results and how they can impact severely on taxi drivers and the taxi trade generally.
When such taxi licensing decisions are appealed, Licensing Appeals Committees and Magistrates Courts hearing licensing appeals are required to have regard to a Council’s licensing policy. We have represented taxi drivers in many cases have argued that the application of certain policies in the particular and individual circumstances of a case can lead to disproportionate results, such as a licence being suspended or revoked.
The taxi licensing policy of a local council for both PCO drivers and Hackney carriage drivers is intended as guidance for clear and consistent decision making and in many instances gives a decision maker an element of discretion in exercise their power to revoke or refusal to renew a taxi license. The policy is a guidance document is not a straightjacket.
If your taxi license has been revoked or has not been renewed because of a complaint, disciplinary, police matter, criminal conviction or caution – contact us today for independent and legal advice by expert taxi lawyers on taxi licensing appeals and the law.
We represent fleet operator licence holders, to individual PCO and private hire taxi drivers and Hackney carriage licence holders. Call 0208 123 9999 and email firstname.lastname@example.org