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Watford licensed taxis could be next to offer mandatory card payment options on all journeys

Updated: Nov 6, 2022

Watford Council will launch a consultation asking whether all licensed hackney carriages and private hire vehicles should mandatorily offer a card payment option.

The move comes as the council received queries from members of the public about the possibility of card payments for taxis. In some parts of the country the payment method is standard, such as in London, and more people now tend to carry less cash and expect to pay for services by card.

A positive response to the consultation may result in changes to the council's policy and the inclusion of a mandatory condition on licences that mean all licensed vehicles must have a card reader machine.

Residents and licensed trade are also being asked about driver medical requirements. To ensure drivers are safe to drive and the public are not being put at risk, currently new applicants must take a medical with their GP before a driver licence is issued. Licensed drivers must then submit satisfactory medicals every 5 years from the age of 55, then every year from the age of 70.

The council is seeking views on whether the medical requirements should be amended to be in line with the DVLA group 2 medical age requirements, which states that medicals should be submitted upon initial application, then every 5 years from the age of 45, and every year from the age of 65.

Speaking about the card payments, Councillor Ian Stotesbury, Portfolio Holder for Transport and Sustainability, said: “For a large percentage of the population card payments have become the norm, and we realise that there is a growing demand to extend this form of payment to all taxis and private hire vehicles. The consultation will help us understand how great that demand is and I urge both the travelling public and licensed trade to get involved.”

Councillor Glen Saffery, Chair of the Licensing Committee, focused on the medical requirements, saying: “It’s our job as a council to make sure Watford's taxis have the very highest standards of quality and safety. The review into the frequency of medical reports is part of commitment to ensure we deliver a safe transport service to the residents and businesses of Watford. If the changes go ahead, it could give residents further confidence these standards are being adhered to and guarantees a level playing field for responsible drivers.”


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