At a meeting of the taxi licensing committee last night (Thursday 22nd August) committee members approved the new Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Strategy but only with alterations to two key proposals.
Firstly, the committee requested that the trade are given until January 2025 to meet the condition that all Hackney carriages and private hire vehicles are ‘required to be a minimum of Euro 6 Diesel or ZEC ULEV’ rather than the proposed date of January 2021.
Secondly, the committee also voted to amend the policy on the age limits of vehicles, voting that from 2025 the maximum age of hackney carriages and private hire vehicles should be 15 years rather than the 10 proposed for diesel vehicles and 12 years for ZEC ULEV vehicles. The delay also means that until 2025 Derby remains without any age limit on hackney carriages and private hire vehicles.
The committee did approve a new ‘back to black’ colour scheme for hackney carriages, with a diagonal yellow stripe down the side of each vehicle. Whilst the equalities impact assessment was given due consideration a decision was made that they will not be required to have a yellow bonnet. This policy comes into immediate effect for newly licensed vehicles whilst yellow cabs will have until 2025 to make the change.
A proposal for six month inspections for all vehicles was also rejected. With immediate effect, vehicles under 5 years will only be required to have one inspection per year with six monthly inspections beginning on vehicles over 5 years.
The strategy, first published earlier this year was designed to modernise Derby’s taxi and private hire fleet; making them safer, more environmentally friendly, and enhancing customer service and experience. The original proposals had been through a 12 week consultation period with feedback received from taxi/private hire drivers and operators, trade representatives, residents, local business and statutory bodies, with paper and translated versions of the survey available.
The consultation was completed by over 500 people who chose to share their views with DCC, and over half of respondents – 52.8 per cent – agreed with DCC’s overall vision for the future.
Following the consultation amendments were made to the original plans, including pushing back the implementation date from 2020 to 2021 to allow the trade time to meet the Euro 6 standard.
Mick Barker, Cabinet Member for Governance and Licensing said:
“It’s disappointing especially that the age policy has been weakened and is a backward step for the taxi trade in Derby. We have worked exceptionally hard to produce a strategy which we felt was ambitious but also fair and balanced.
“Too much consideration has been given to the taxi drivers rather than members of the public who supported our proposals. We now need to go back and look at the implications of the decisions made particularly regarding our clean air strategy and the climate emergency.”
“I’m pleased with the outcome on the colour scheme. The new design is very striking and will retain the unique ‘Derby yellow’. We have given much consideration to the views of the disabled and visually impaired and balanced that with the practicalities and cost having new vehicles resprayed yellow.”