New rules for out of town licensed taxis in Rotherham as increase ‘concerning’
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Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) is set to review its licensing policy, and will introduce new rules to ensure there are no ‘unacceptable risks’ to public safety.
If approved, taxi operators must inform the customer when accepting a booking that it will be sub-contracted to another private hire operator.
A report said drivers are moving away from local firms and are working for firms that have licences to operate in a number of different districts.
Firms in Rotherham are reporting a decrease in the number of drivers, and they are looking at other options to enable them to fulfil bookings.
“The proliferation of out-of-town vehicles is concerning, not least because this activity undermines the standards that are set by the council’s hackney carriage and private hire licensing policy, ” adds the report.
"It is essential that private hire operator licence holders are competent in the operation of their business and have appropriate safeguards in place".
It said drivers licensed elsewhere are benefiting from an ‘unfair commercial advantage due to lower operational costs’.
Obtaining a licence elsewhere could save a driver up to £3,000, due to tighter regulations in Rotherham, such as newer vehicles being required as well as CCTV.
In a bid to ensure that operators ‘meet the high expectations that the council and the residents of Rotherham have of them’, additional conditions will be attached to operator licenses for private hire vehicles.
These include informing the customer that a booking will be sub contracted, and keeping detailed records of each booking.
RMBC will also take into account a wider range of an applicant’s previous convictions, including motoring offences, illegal drug offences, and offences relating to discrimination, public safety and immigration.
More vehicles may also be granted a licence, as the council proposes to remove the current limit of 52 hackney carriages able to operate at any one time – on the provision that new vehicles can carry wheelchairs.
The policy will be presented to cabinet in December, and implemented immediately if approved.