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Bristol taxi and private hire drivers could soon be required to pass an English language test


Image credit: Pixabay

Bristol City Council is consulting on a number of changes to hackney carriage and private hire licensing in Bristol.

The council’s licensing authority are inviting views from the taxi and private hire trade, people and groups representing the trade and its customers as well as members of the public. The proposals include:

  • Mandatory card payment system- Introduction of a requirement for hackney carriage vehicles to provide a card payment system.

  • Tinted windows - A change to the existing private hire vehicle policy and vehicle inspection standards which currently requires at least 65% of light to be transmitted through rear side windows.

  • English language skills - An amendment to all existing policies to give the council the right to require all new applicants for any licence, and existing licence holders, to pass a language skills test.

  • Assessment of previous convictions or offending behaviour – In line with central government recommendations the council is proposing to strengthen the existing guidelines on the relevance of criminal behaviour. This will mean that some current licensees may have their suitability to hold a vehicle, driver or operator licence reviewed.

  • Private hire vehicle (PHV) Operator licensing - Introduction of a private hire operator policy and changes to conditions attached to the private hire operator licence. Operators would need to provide training and to have policies relating to training, customer service, complaints and safeguarding and fit and proper persons.

  • Changes to the council’s Fit and Proper Person Policy – Introduction of a requirement for drivers to subscribe to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) update service. Drivers are currently required to carry out enhanced DBS checks and this change would, with the individual’s consent, allow the council to check the status of a certificate online at any time. The proposals also include new penalties if drivers do not subscribe to the DBS update service, or if the status of their DBS certificate changes.

  • Disclosure certificate - Amendment to the existing private hire vehicle policy and hackney carriage vehicle policy to require all proprietors (vehicle licence holders) to obtain a basic disclosure certificate before a licence can be granted (unless they already hold a private hire or hackney carriage drivers licence). A basic disclosure certificate contains details of convictions and conditional cautions considered to be ‘unspent’ under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

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