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West Northamptonshire Council considers new draft taxi policy to enhance safety and service quality

West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) is poised to consider a new draft policy aimed at enhancing the safety and service quality of taxi and private hire vehicles.

The move, set for review next week by the council's Taxi and General Licensing Committee, marks a significant step in ensuring higher standards in the local transport sector.

The primary goal of the draft policy is to safeguard passengers by ensuring that drivers and vehicles adhere to stringent standards. This initiative has undergone extensive consultation, providing opportunities for input from all stakeholders, including those within the industry.

A notable feature of the proposed policy is the implementation of a points scheme, designed to facilitate more consistent enforcement. This system is part of WNC's broader strategy to not only protect passengers but also to uphold the reputation of the taxi and private hire industry. By establishing clear standards and consequences, the council aims to foster an environment where passengers can consistently expect a positive and safe experience.

The draft document aligns with guidance from the Government and the Institute of Licensing. Its provisions mirror those adopted by neighbouring authorities, ensuring a cohesive approach to licensing and regulation across the region.

Central to the council's strategy is ongoing engagement with the taxi and private hire industry. WNC is committed to working collaboratively with industry stakeholders to maintain the trade's reputation as a safe and reliable public transport option. This partnership approach is seen as vital for the continuous improvement and adaptation of the sector to meet evolving needs and challenges.

If approved, the policy will not be static; it is intended to be a 'living document', subject to regular reviews to ensure it remains relevant and effective.

The committee's meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday 9 January at The Guildhall, and is seen as a crucial juncture for this policy. Detailed information about the policy, including all responses received during the consultation phase, is available for public viewing on the council's website.

Cllr David Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Engagement and Regulatory Services, said: “We’ve considered all views, including those of the trade and unions, in compiling what we believe is a robust policy which will help to ensure passengers are appropriately protected and the high quality of service maintained.

“We’re conscious that some members of the trade are unhappy with elements of the policy, and we acknowledge this, though public safety must remain our primary concern.

“Those drivers who operate a safe and well-maintained vehicle, keep a high standard of cleanliness, do not drive in a reckless fashion, so providing a positive experience for passengers will see no difference.

“Working with the industry we have recently introduced taxi marshals in Northampton which will also help promote safety for both the public and drivers.”


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