Taxi licensing authority agrees to allow front seat passengers in hackney carriage vehicles 

Swindon Borough Council has agreed to license hackney carriage taxis to seat passengers to the vehicle's full capacity - even those which have a partition separating the front and back seats.

Originally hackney carriage taxis licensed by the borough could only carry a maximum of up to the available amount of seats at the rear of the vehicle, but after a consultation which included taxi drivers, the decision was made to allow front seat travel.

During a minute to decide and finalise their decision, council members discussed the need to allow a hackney carriage vehicle to be licensed to its capacity.

Issues such as safety were highlighted, but a counter argument pointed out that private hire vehicles allow front seat passengers so if it is deemed safe in those then it should be considered safe for hackney carriage too.

The cost of specialist vehicles used by hackney carriage drivers was also highlighted - with the need to maximise potential profits by having the capability to carry more passengers.

Members agreed that it was also important for passengers to have a choice of where they sit, and if wish to do so, have the option of front seat travel.

The meeting concluded with the council stating: 'That where there is a partition in a Hackney Carriage Vehicle approval be given to permit, on the grant or renewal of a licence, the maximum passenger capacity for a Hackney Carriage Vehicle to be for the total number of seats in the vehicle, including the front seats so that all seats are available for all journeys whether pre-booked or not.'

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