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Council proposes no window tints, minicab Knowledge tests dropped and taxi vehicle age limits binned

Window tint restrictions to be dropped, minicab local Knowledge test scrapped and no age restrictions on taxis and private hire vehicles have all been proposed by Darlington Borough Council.

Following the coronavirus pandemic, Darlington, like many other areas of the UK has suffered from a shortage of taxi and private hire drivers. In recent months the trade has also had to contend with spiralling costs of maintaining vehicles and replacing them.

The Department for Transport is currently consulting on a revised Best Practice Guide, which has provided an opportunity to carry out an interim review of its Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Licensing Policy.

Proposals in the draft best practice guide have been considered alongside their own current policy. The council say the trade feel that the following changes could be adopted before a full review of the policy is carried out in 2024.

The proposed changes are:

  • No age restriction of vehicles, provided engines are compliant with Euro 6 standards by 1 April 2023, with the exception of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles already licensed. This will be subject to further discussion at the time of the next full review.

  • No tint restriction, provided that the tint is standard to the vehicle from the production line.

  • Requirement for the knowledge locality test for a Private Hire Drivers Licence to be removed.

Councillor Cyndi Hughes, Chairman of the council’s licensing committee, said: “Early conversations with the taxi trade suggest that a delay in the introduction of some of the new best practice requirements could provide just the breathing-space struggling taxi drivers need, allowing them to continue to offer their important service to the public.

“However, we want to hear what you think before any final decisions are made, so do please share your views with us.”


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