FENLAND: Council to introduce penalty point scheme in major review of taxi and private hire drivers

PUBLISHED: 14:33 15 August 2008 | UPDATED: 08:36 02 June 2010

By JOHN ELWORTHY A MAJOR review of taxi and private hire drivers throughout Fenland has been ordered by the district council that could lead to a unified licence for all drivers. Lin Bagwell, principal licensing officer for Fenland District Council, said

By JOHN ELWORTHY

A MAJOR review of taxi and private hire drivers throughout Fenland has been ordered by the district council that could lead to a unified licence for all drivers.

Lin Bagwell, principal licensing officer for Fenland District Council, said: "The council has a duty to balance public safety and confidence in the trade with the economic well being of those businesses which make a living from providing a service to the public."

In a report to the licensing committee she says the council has conditions to regulate the private hire and hackney carriage trade that are "old and do not represent best practice and are outdated in some respects."

Calling for a shake up in regulatory control, she says talks with the trade have met with support "although naturally this was qualified in awaiting detailed proposals."

Ms Bagwell says: "The most significant change is the creation of a unified licence for drivers. At present a driver would need two licences to drive both hackney carriage and private hire vehicles.

"The proposal is to create a single status of licensed driver. This would enable greater flexibility for drivers and operators, and bring all drivers onto the same set of conditions."

But she adds: "For legislative reasons the two distinctions will continue to apply to vehicles and the types of bookings which can be made."

She wants the council to implement changes by next April and this will include the introduction of a penalty point scheme.

Repeat offenders - those in breach of licensing conditions and legislation- could in future find the council clamping down on them hard.

She says verbal or written advice now given out - including official cautions- could be replaced by a penalty points scheme "that would be more effective against those drivers, proprietors and operators who see fit to ignore their responsibilities in relation to the conditions attached to their licenses."

Once an offender has acquired a maximum number of points they will be brought before the licensing committee who would have "certain options of punishment dependent on the circumstances, including suspension of revocation of licence."

N Drivers who want to have dual licences to drive any vehicles now pay two fees of £61.50 but under the new scheme will be halved to encourage "migration" between trades if the financial barrier is lost.

(If you are a taxi or private hire driver tell us what you think of these proposals. Email: john.elworthy@archant.co.uk )


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Wisbech Standard. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Wisbech Standard