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Leicester City Council becomes latest authority looking at taxi age limits which could prompt four years extension

Updated: Jan 21

Leicester City Council has opened a public consultation regarding potential changes to age restrictions on vehicles used as taxis in the city. The council, responsible for licensing hackney carriages (black cabs) and private hire vehicles, aims to ensure all vehicles are safe and suitable for public use.

The city has seen a decline in the number of hackney carriages in recent years, attributed partly to the high cost of acquiring suitable vehicles. The taxi trade reports a scarcity of affordable secondhand black cabs.

Private hire vehicles, which are booked in advance, are not subject to the same stringent specifications as hackney carriages, offering a broader range of vehicle choices to licence holders. However, financial pressures are also beginning to impact the private hire sector.

Notably, many private hire vehicles operating in Leicester are licensed by other councils, some of which have more lenient policies regarding vehicle age.

The current policy of Leicester City Council mandates that all vehicles licensed for the first time be no older than five years, and all vehicles being relicensed be no older than 11 years. Representatives from the taxi trade have called for a review of these policies, citing challenges such as the pandemic, the cost of living crisis, and changing customer demands since the last policy review in 2012.

The consultation will ask drivers and the public whether that age limit should be extended to up to 15 years old, potentially adding four vital years to the vehicles licensing lifetime.

The consultation, open to the public from 15 January to 25 February, invites people to share their views online. The feedback collected will be considered by the council’s Licensing and Public Safety Committee and the City Mayor in deciding whether to amend the current age restrictions.

By extending age limit, and placing requirements in to maintain vehicle standards, taxi drivers can lower their overall costs, which in turn helps keep the taxi tariffs down too.

A decision is anticipated within two months following the consultation period. Should any policy changes be approved, the implementation date will vary depending on the nature of the amendments.

Furthermore, the council acknowledges the ongoing need to transition towards greener, low-emission, hybrid, or electric vehicles to enhance air quality in Leicester. Consequently, additional modifications to the vehicle licensing policy may be considered in the future to support this environmental goal.

Leicester Assistant City Mayor Cllr Elly Cutkelvin, whose responsibilities include licensing, said: “Members of the taxi trade in Leicester have asked us to look again at the age policy around vehicles used as taxis, in the light of changes to customer demand and other pressures faced by the industry.

“We’ve been working closely with local taxi representatives and have agreed to review these conditions.

“This consultation gives people across the city and from all walks of life the chance to make their views heard on this subject too, so they can be taken into account when we make a decision on whether changes are needed.”


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