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New taxi design & proposals to remove limit on cab licences in bid to encourage more cabbies

Image credit : Plymouth City Council

More taxis on Plymouth streets, greener, lower emission vehicles and green livery are the key proposals being unveiled to help the city’s taxi trade which is struggling with licence numbers.

Proposals designed to get more people to join Plymouth’s taxi trade as well as encourage cabbies and operators to go greener have been set out in a new draft Taxi Licensing Policy.

Ideas outlined include:

  • Removing the limit on the number of hackney carriages and extending the period of time that drivers can return to the trade to three years without having to complete the drivers’ test and knowledge test.

  • An enhanced age and emissions policy to clean up the current taxi fleet and work towards achieving the Council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan by 2030.

  • A coloured livery taxi fleet of a specified green and white. This is would be for newly plated vehicles only, although from 2027 all taxis would be expected to have this livery.

  • All hackney carriages must take card payments. Most taxis and private hire vehicles do this, but this move will help passengers to get home safely and not worry about getting cash to pay their cab home.

A delegated decision has been signed this week giving the go-ahead for the consultation which starts on 25 November and will last 12 weeks and the council wants to hear from passengers as well as the trade.

The Department for Transport has asked all councils to review taxi policies to make sure they comply with the Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards, which was published in July 2020.

Councillor John Riley, Cabinet Member for Governance, Human Resources, IT, Community Safety and Licensing, said: "We are using this review required by Government to see what measures we can take to help revive the trade while at the same time looking at changes to help us meet our carbon emission targets.

“Plymouth lost around 160 drivers over the pandemic and we want to make it easier for drivers to return by removing the hoops they would have to jump through.

“By removing the limit on the number of hackney carriages Plymouth can have we hope to see new drivers join and work in the evening and night time economy. We want people to go out and enjoy what Plymouth has to offer and we want them to get home safely.”

The green and white livery measures which were first proposed in 2017 are back on the table as a measure to increase confidence from the public.

The new livery would give people confidence that they are hailing a properly licensed and approved cab he said. Adding: “The colours are distinctive. They are Plymouth’s colours and promote pride and professionalism. We are proposing a gradual move to this new livery so that drivers and operators won’t be hit too hard financially.”

The proposed main changes have been shared with key players on both sides of the trade before the formal consultation and have received mainly positive feedback.

Like many other industries, measures will need to be taken to upgrade vehicles in line with latest regulations and laws designed to address the effects of climate change.

The policy will be reviewed within the next two to three years to ensure the council continually reviews and updates the emissions policy in line with the Government's recommendations.

The consultation on the taxi policy will get underway on 25 November and finish on 17 February 2022.


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