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Glasgow City Council to decide on potential THREE YEAR Private Hire Cars age limit extension

Updated: Sep 17, 2023

Glasgow City Council's Licensing and Regulatory Committee is set to make a crucial decision regarding the age limit for private hire cars (PHCs) in the city.

On Wednesday 20 September, the committee will determine whether to reimpose the previous seven-year age limit or to extend it.

Since 2006, private hire cars in Glasgow have been subject to a maximum age limit of seven years. However, this policy was temporarily suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic to alleviate the financial burden on private hire drivers and operators. The suspension has persisted thus far, but it is now up for revaluation.

Advocating for an increase in the age limit, the Scottish Private Hire Association (SPHA) has led a campaign to extend it to ten years. This proposal has garnered support from organisations such as Saltire Private Hire, Raz Private Hire, and the App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU).

In November of the previous year, licensing authorities directed the council's executive to prepare a comprehensive report on the age limit policy with the objective of potentially increasing the upper age limit. Subsequently, a public consultation process took place over the summer.

The council's report has been made public and reveals that there is significant support for the SPHA's proposal to raise the age limit for private hire cars to ten years. Out of the respondents, 67% expressed agreement with amending the current seven-year age limit, with only 24% opposing any increase. Within the majority in favour of a policy change, a significant portion (46%) favoured an age limit of ten years.

This decision, if implemented, would have far-reaching implications for private hire drivers, operators, and commuters in Glasgow. Proponents argue that an increased age limit would provide a more flexible framework for drivers, enabling them to operate for longer periods and potentially mitigate financial strains. However, opponents may highlight concerns regarding the impact on vehicle safety and passenger comfort.

Eddie Grice, SPHA’s General Secretary, said: “Ahead of this Wednesday’s licensing hearing on private hire car age limits, we at the SPHA, again call on the council to increase the upper limit to 10 years.

“With high cost of living, high cost of fuel and used car prices being at an all time high the trade needs mitigatory measures such as this. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the average asking price of a three year old car in the UK increased by 38% last year. The asking price of a three year old petrol car increased by 35% while the average price of a used diesel car went up a staggering 43%. The long term outlook for trade is one of high operating costs from here on out.

“The sole trading owner-operators in the fleet, who make up a massive bloc within the fleet, are the ones that will suffer most from the reintroduction of the seven year rule. Only a small number of operators can afford to put cars on the road from age zero.

“The primary reason for bringing in an age limit was to ensure vehicle safety, and in turn, public safety. But, since the policy was introduced in 2006, many car safety features have been developed or improved. The pop up bonnet which is designed to lower the risk of pedestrian injury, blind spot monitoring, fatigue detection systems, autonomous braking systems, pedestrian detection, barrier detection, night time impact detection and active cruise control. Also, since 2006 Euro NCAP has updated their vehicle safety ratings. They have brought in rear impact whiplash testing, which was first carried out in 2008 and then further updates to Euro NCAP in 2009 when they created a stricter scoring system.

“It appears widely accepted, statistically, that the average expected lifespan of a car from the early 2000’s was around 7 to 8 years. At the time, the age limit policy matched this, fair enough. However, the average expected lifespan, today, is now 11 to 12 years. The policy no longer matches up to this.

“The cars of 2006 are not like the cars of 2023. They are built to last longer and cover more miles. They are built with far higher safety standards. The reasons in 2006 that led to a seven year limit are no longer in play.

“For those cars that reach the age of seven and are still cosmetically good, still mechanically good, still passing MOTs, still passing council inspections, still not being weeded out by enforcement checks - then there really is no reason to be taking it out of service other than to satisfy what, in those cases, would be an arbitrary number.

“It is the SPHA’s view, overwhelmingly amongst our members, that the upper age limit on private hire cars be increased from seven to 10 years.

“We are also supportive of the proposed measure to introduce a third annual inspection on cars beyond the age of seven years old.”


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