Taxi drivers in North Somerset have voiced concerns that new regulations proposed by the local council could have detrimental financial effects.
The draft of the council's hackney carriage and private hire policy includes a proposal to implement a "terminal limit" that would prohibit cars older than ten years from operating as taxis.
Additionally, taxi licences would be denied to vehicles with any history of insurance loss. The current rules allow cars up to eight years old to become taxis, but under the new regulations, cars must be no older than five years at the time of initial licensing. The policy also requires vehicles to meet the Euro 6 emissions standard.
The policy covers various private hire vehicles, including executive travel and "town taxis". The proposal will be presented to the North Somerset Council's licensing committee on Tuesday 31 October. If approved by the full council, the policy is expected to take effect from the beginning of 2024.
According to The Weston Mercury, taxi drivers have expressed concerns that the introduction of an age limit and stricter emissions standards will negatively impact their livelihoods. If the proposed rules are adopted, cars exceeding the age limit will not be re-licensed as private hire vehicles. However, some drivers believe that older vehicles will already be phased out due to the requirement to meet Euro 6 standards.
During the 31 October meeting, the licensing committee will evaluate whether to proceed with the reduced age limit of five years for new vehicles and the ban on licensing cars older than ten years. They will also discuss whether vehicles with a category S or N insurance loss should be refused re-licensing or only refused a first licence if not previously used as a taxi.
The final version of the policy will be presented for adoption in a full session of the North Somerset Council. Should it be approved, the regulations are expected to come into effect from 1 January 2024.