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Wakefield Council moves to extend taxi vehicle age limits to address financial challenges facing drivers



Wakefield Council Licensing Committee met to deliberate on a significant amendment to the local taxi and private hire vehicle regulatory landscape.


The focal point of the discussion on 6 March was a proposal to permanently extend the upper age limit of licensed taxi and private hire vehicles - a decision aimed at addressing the pressing financial challenges faced by the trade in recent years.

The committee was presented with findings from a public consultation carried out earlier in the year. This survey sought to gauge sentiment towards extending the vehicle age limit, which currently mandates the removal of taxis and private hire vehicles from service after reaching a decade of operation. Notably, the policy has been slightly more lenient towards multi-seater, wheelchair accessible, and hybrid/electric vehicles, allowing them an additional two years of service (twelve years).


The background of this consultation included a temporary measure approved in September 2023, prompted by a taxi trade appeal to the council. They cited unparalleled hardships, urging for a reevaluation of the age cap. The public's feedback from the consultation highlighted a general consensus in favour of extending these limits, with some participants advocating for even more lenient terms than those proposed.

The council's move to reconsider vehicle age limits aligns with broader efforts across West Yorkshire, with neighbouring authorities also revising their policies in varying degrees. This initiative resonates with the Department for Transport's guidance, suggesting that rather than setting strict age limits, local licensing bodies should focus on emission standards, safety ratings, and enhancing the provision of wheelchair-accessible vehicles.


Supporters of the policy argued that it would not only alleviate financial pressures on vehicle operators by allowing longer service life for their fleets but also contribute to the district's economic and environmental objectives.

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