Updated: Apr 27, 2022
Plymouth taxi drivers have threatened to quit if the local council do not back-track on a controversial new policy that includes a mandatory new green and white livery and contactless payments.
Plymouth’s new taxi licensing policy was approved by Full Council last month and has caused anger with some cabbies in the area as the changes could potentially cost the drivers over £1,500 each.
To help with the livery vehicle costs the council has allowed a five year lead-in time (May 2027) to allow the industry to first recover financially from the coronavirus pandemic. From May 2027 private hire vehicles will no longer be able to use white vehicles.
However, from 1 May 2022 other changes will arrive which include:
There will be no limit on the number of hackney carriages
Drivers can return to the trade within three years without having to complete the knowledge test.
The Plymouth Ambassador Course and the English Spoken Test will now be pre-requisites for new drivers.
Both Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Vehicles must take contactless payments by July 2022.
The Department for Transport recommendations for additional DBS requirements for drivers, vehicle proprietors and operators will be introduced.
Operators will be required to keep a register of all booking staff and undertake safeguarding training.
One year licence fees and the first 12 months of a three year licence will now be non-refundable.
A staggered approach to introducing cleaner vehicles by 2030.
According to ITV News, John Beaumont, Chair of the Plymouth Licensed Taxi Association, said: "I believe the driver should have a choice about what colour vehicle he buys.
"All the public look for is a tout light in the vehicle, that's all they need. Why do we need to change colour? We've had this for years."
Last month, when announcing the changes, Councillor John Riley, Governance Human Resources, IT, Community Safety and Licensing, said: “The green and white livery will be introduced to increase public’s confidence that they are hailing a properly-licensed and approved cab.
“The colours are distinctive - they are Plymouth’s colours and promote pride and professionalism. At night, this will help with identification and will support clearer CCTV images if required.
“We know it’s been a tough few years so are giving drivers and operators more time to do this and this is allowable as a business expense.”
What are the changes around livery in Plymouth?
According to Plymouth.gov it is proposed that for all vehicles plated for the first time by the Council (including existing proprietors on the change of vehicle), proprietors will be required to comply with the following:
No vehicle shall be licensed as a Hackney carriage vehicle unless its paintwork bodywork are painted in manufacturers ‘white’ colour except for the bonnet and boot lid (rear door) which must be ‘Green’ in colour to colour code RAL – 6037or “wrapped” in 3M Scotchcal Vinyl or equivalent vinyl to the same colour specification.
The paintwork/ bodywork must be professionally finished. Bare metal, primer paint, visible rust and perforations will not be permitted.
Each Hackney Carriage shall display signs on each door in accordance with the design approved and supplied by the Council. The sign shall be constructed of vinyl and be applied directly to the door.
For existing taxis already licensed it has been proposed that the above changes must be made from 1 January 2027.
From the date of implementation of this livery policy, no white private hire vehicle will be accepted for licensing under any circumstances. Existing white private hire vehicles must change its colour by 1 January 2027.