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TAXI AGE LIMITS: Authorities should NOT refuse to licence a taxi purely because of its age



In recent updated guidance from the Department for Transport (DfT), licensing authorities have been encouraged to discard age restrictions when it comes to licensing vehicles for the taxi industry.


The move could be the catalyst to promote greater affordability for drivers and facilitate the transition towards a greener future.

The new guidance, released on 17 November, emphasises the importance of focusing on whether a vehicle meets the required standards rather than solely considering its age. The DfT acknowledges that as the taxi industry starts embracing electric zero-emission vehicles, the high costs associated with this new technology often hinder widespread adoption.


The new guidance, released on 17 November, emphasises the importance of focusing on whether a vehicle meets the required standards rather than solely considering its age. The DfT acknowledges that as the taxi industry starts embracing electric zero-emission vehicles, the high costs associated with this new technology often hinder widespread adoption.


Last month TaxiPoint highlighted the numerous benefits to drivers and communities should licensing authorities extend or even eliminate age limits for taxi vehicles. The spotlight on electric taxis reveals that the prohibitive costs associated with these vehicles have become a significant barrier to their widespread usage.

The DfT's guidance recognises the natural evolution of vehicle fleets in the coming years, with the lowering cost of running electric vehicles and improved charging infrastructure making them increasingly attractive to the trade. The document states: "While vehicle age limits may provide a clear expectation for vehicle proprietors, it does so at a potentially high and unnecessary cost."


Furthermore, the guidance emphasises that if a vehicle meets the required standards, such as vehicle emissions, there seems to be no valid justification for requiring it to be retired purely based on its age.


The DfT also highlights the importance of licensing authorities providing certainty to the sector, allowing for planning and investment. The guidance urges licensing authorities to provide sufficient notice about changes in vehicle policy, ensuring a smooth transition rather than sudden and drastic shifts.


In response to the consultation, it was noted that the removal of age restrictions might affect other aspects of vehicle policy, such as Euro NCAP safety ratings. Authorities addressed this concern by stating that while newer vehicles may achieve higher safety ratings due to advances in technology, a vehicle that has obtained a 5-star rating will always be safer than one that received only a 1-star rating.


The guidance concludes with a clear directive for licensing authorities, stating: "Licensing authorities should not refuse to license a vehicle purely because it has reached a specified age."


This updated guidance from the DfT should now spark conversations and debates within the taxi industry as stakeholders ponder the potential implications and benefits of relaxing age restrictions on licensed vehicles.


The taxi industry's pursuit of affordability and a greener future could take a huge step forward with the DfT's latest guidance, but which licensing authorities will help unlock new possibilities and shape the future landscape of taxi transportation?

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