Shropshire Star

Older taxis set to be allowed in Telford & Wrekin to help maintain size of fleet

A council is set to allow older taxis to be licensed in Telford & Wrekin to help maintain the fleet of vehicles in the borough.

Last updated

Currently new hackney carriages license rules tell drivers to consider replacing their expensive purpose built vehicles after 12 years but they are allowed to apply for an extension if their vehicles are in exceptional condition.

New proposed rules are set to allow them to stay on the road for another three years before being replaced

Ten year old private hire vehicles are currently allowed on the roads and the proposal is to allow them to be used for another two years.

The situation is complicated because older drivers who gained hackney carriage licences before current rules came into force in April 2021 are still allowed to run their vehicles, with one being 19 years old. There are strict tests for all vehicle owners for MOTs and vehicle safety, says a report to councillors.

Members of Telford & Wrekin Council's licensing committee will be asked to approve the review of hackney carriage and private hire vehicle age limits at their meeting on Tuesday (September 13). If approved it will come into force on October 1 this year.

A report to councillors says earlier this year the licensing team received requests from a private hire vehicle proprietor to review the council’s existing age limit for private hire vehicles. The council carried out a 28 day public consultation up to May 17 and all 11 responses supported the move.

The report reads: "Under the current policy, once a vehicle reaches its age limit then the proprietor has three options: Prepare a business case to be heard by a licensing sub-committee to request an extension for the vehicle to be licensed for another 12 months; replace the vehicle to meet the council’s age limits; or to licence the vehicle with another local authority whose policy allows vehicles over the current age limits."

All 11 applications to extend the life of private hire vehicles have been granted by the council and there are currently eight private hire vehicles licensed by the council operating in the borough between the ages of 11 and 13 years.

Eight of the 21 licensed hackney carriages are aged 12 years and over, with the oldest being 19 years of age.

"The proposed vehicle age limits will allow new licensed purpose built hackney carriage vehicles to continue to operate over 12 years to the maximum age of 15 years providing they meet the exceptional condition criteria," says the report to councillors.

The report adds that if they keep their current policy private hire vehicles older than 10 years will be able to be licensed by neighbouring authorities and still work within the borough "without any direct control from the council".

Council officers are also keep to ensure that there is a continued fleet of purpose built hackney carriages that are wheelchair accessible in the borough. The trade lost a number of drivers locally during the pandemic who have not returned to work, the report says.

The meeting is due to start at 6pm on Tuesday, September 13.