Taxi drivers in East Staffordshire will receive a short 4-month extension to their expiring vehicle licence during the COVID-19 lockdown period.
The new measures will also be offered to taxis and private hire vehicles over the respective 7 and 10 year age limits.
The East Staffordshire Borough Council licensing team received a letter from the Burton Taxi Trade requesting that the Council considers a 1 year extension of private hire and hackney carriage vehicle licences from 30 December 2020 due to the financial effects of COVID-19.
Currently vehicle licences are issued for a 1 year period. Private hire vehicles are allowed to be licensed until they are 7 years old and Hackney carriages may be licensed until they are 10 years old.
The licensing team were also approached by a driver asking for vehicle licences to be extended for 3 to 6 months from May 2020 to ease the burden faced by the taxi trade of purchasing a replacement vehicle and the issues of being self-employed.
In an East Staffordshire council report it stated that “Licensing Authorities are being urged by central government to exercise discretion in dealings with the licensed taxi trade”.
Some of that discretion is centred around how taxis are inspected and kept in a roadworthy condition for safe passenger usage.
Government guidelines are however urging licensing authorities to consider ways in which they can use their existing powers to support the trade to continue to operate and provide essential travel.
At a recent licensing committee meeting on 19 May an extension due to start this month, for an initial period of four months, was granted. The extension is then set to be reviewed again in June to assess the latest effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry.