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North Northamptonshire Council to review merging FOUR ‘taxi zones’ into one licensing authority

North Northamptonshire Council are set to discuss plans for a review of the current taxi zones in the area, with potential outcomes including the retention of the four existing zones or the implementation of one zone for the entire region.

If approved, the subsequent consultation process will gather opinions on the matter, aiming to address concerns and gather feedback from the public and taxi trade.

Since the formation of the North Northamptonshire Council, the previous authority areas - Corby, East Northamptonshire, Kettering, and Wellingborough - have maintained their separate licensing zones for taxis and drivers. As a result, any driver or vehicle intending to operate throughout the entire North Northamptonshire area must acquire four different licences.

However, current discussions suggest that amalgamating the zones into one could present valuable advantages. The proposal highlights that having a single taxi zone would enable cabs to freely ply for hire across the entire region, reducing travel costs by allowing them to operate in different towns after completing a journey instead of returning to base empty. The council hope this would increase efficiency and has the potential to make taxis more competitive and environmentally sustainable by minimising the number of empty journeys.

Furthermore, the council say the Department for Transport (DfT) has recommended the abolition of zones to benefit the travelling public. By implementing a unified taxi zone, the trade would be able to adapt more flexibly to changes in demand across the entire council area.

Although adopting a one-zone policy may be beneficial, it would require a review of the existing knowledge tests that all drivers must complete. Additionally, attention must be given to areas where there are limitations on the number of available licences.

The proposal comes after the alignment of taxi tariff fares in November 2022 and the implementation of a Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy covering the entirety of the North Northamptonshire Council's area on 1 April 2023.

If the decision is made to progress with considering the removal of the zones, a 12-week consultation process will follow. This process will involve engaging with the taxi trade, partners, and the travelling public to ensure that all perspectives are taken into account. The responses obtained during the consultation will be carefully reviewed before being referred back to the Licensing and Appeals Committee for further action. Finally, the Executive will make the final determination on the matter.

The potential effects of these proposed changes to the existing taxi zones have significant implications for both taxi drivers and the public. The consultation process will serve as a crucial opportunity for all stakeholders to contribute their opinions and help shape the future of the taxi services in the North Northamptonshire area.


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