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Green and white Plymouth taxi livery policy could be binned after ongoing concerns over cost

Plymouth City Council are set to commence a consultation seeking fresh feedback from taxi drivers, companies, and passengers on proposed major changes to the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy aiming to address certain economic conditions facing taxi drivers.

Formally implemented in May 2022, the latest policy currently regulates taxi services within Plymouth. However, recognising the need for adjustment, the council is now considering making amendments to better align with the current landscape.

A report set to be signed today will give the green light for the consultation to begin on Monday 23 October, allowing all stakeholders an opportunity to have their say.

Several key changes are being proposed, aiming to address various aspects of the policy:

Revoking or reviewing the existing livery policy: The current policy mandates new hackney cabs to be painted in green and white. The council, while still requiring hackney cabs to display door signage supplied by the council, is considering whether this requirement should be revised or even revoked.

Removal of the Knowledge of Plymouth test for private hire drivers: As part of efforts to encourage more individuals to enter the trade, the council is contemplating eliminating the mandatory Knowledge of Plymouth test as a requirement for private hire drivers. This change seeks to open the industry to a broader pool of applicants.

Introduction of black jeans into the dress code: While the existing dress code for taxi drivers has generally been accepted and embraced by the trade, objections have persisted regarding the prohibition of denim jeans. In response to these concerns, the council is now considering allowing black jeans as an acceptable attire option within the dress code.

The proposed changes aim to strike a balance between maintaining necessary regulations for public safety and easing certain burdens on industry professionals.

Councillor Sally Haydon, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Libraries, Cemeteries and Crematoria, said: “We have been reflecting on the issues the trade has experienced and think there is more we can do to alleviate some of the pressures drivers, like everyone else, face with the rising cost of living.

“While the aim of the green and white livery was to make Plymouth cabs distinctive and drivers feel proud of where they are from, we are aware that it is currently very difficult to source the white vehicles needed to create the green and white look. They are expensive and the second-hand market is non-existent.

“Plymouth cabs will still be recognisable as they will have the City Council brand on their doors with their licence details.”

Haydon added: “We also want to be more pragmatic about the knowledge test. Weirdly, an error in the policy wording about the knowledge test applying only to hackney carriage drivers led to a sharp increase in new applicants interested in becoming licensed private hire drivers.

“Times moved on. Private hire drivers use GPS system or app on smart phones. Modern dispatch systems send bookings direct to the drivers’ data pads, which have the inbuilt GPS navigation.”


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