Residents and taxi operators in South Ribble are being asked for their thoughts on a series of proposed changes to the regulations governing private hire and Hackney vehicles in the district.
South Ribble Borough Council has launched a public consultation into six of its taxi licensing policies on issues ranging from signage to emissions.
Under the plans, only fully electric, wheelchair-accessible vehicles could be added to the area’s Hackney fleet as part of efforts to improve air quality.
The maximum age of all taxis on South Ribble’s streets would also be reduced in attempt to make them more environmentally friendly. At the moment, wheelchair-accessible vehicles are allowed to remain in use for 12 years, but saloon cabs have to be retired after eight.
The council is proposing to equalise the maximise age of all taxi types to eight years, after analysis found that out of 231 Hackney and private hire vehicles licensed in the borough, 89 would not meet EU emissions standards for new vehicles – 77 of which are vehicles classed as having disabled access.
The authority also wants to make it clearer to passengers whether they are getting into a private hire or Hackney taxi – because of the different rules relating to how each type of vehicle should be booked. Only Hackney cabs can be hailed on the street, while private hire cars have to be pre-booked – or else people travelling in them are not insured for their journey.
Licensing bosses have designed a new standardised sign for private hire vehicles which they want to see displayed in the same position on every vehicle. They have also proposed reducing the size of the taxi company’s own livery so as not to overshadow the information about the taxi type.
In other proposed changes, South Ribble is considering allowing a darker tint on the windows of taxis in the borough – after complaints from some operators that they were finding it difficult to meet the council’s requirement to allow at least 70 percent “light transparency”.
Under the revised plans, that figure could be reduced to 50 percent or as low as 30 percent – although if the lower level were approved, any firms taking advantage of it would have to be fitted with an approved CCTV system to compensate.
The consultation also covers a proposal to issue new taxi licences and plates only once a year, rather than every six months at present.
The survey runs until 24th February and can be completed at southribble.gov.uk.