Taxi Licensing Policy
We have a responsibility to ensure that drivers, proprietors and operators of hackney carriage and private hire vehicles are fit and proper persons to hold such licenses. Accordingly, taxis, their drivers and operators are licensed by the council. Vehicles are subject to mechanical tests and drivers undergo periodic DBS and medical checks.
Ashford Borough Council approved the Taxi Licensing Policy 2012-17 on 19 April 2012 and came into effect on 1 May 2012.
This policy and contains information about legal requirements, government guidance, council policy, procedures and standards relevant to hackney carriage and private hire licensing. Whilst each application and enforcement measures will continue to be considered on their own individual merits, the Taxi Licensing Policy provides guidance to applicants, existing licensed drivers, proprietors and operators when making applications and renewals.
Review of the Taxi Licensing Policy
The existing taxi licensing policy effectively 'expired' April 2016, and was in need of a number of updates to take into account changes in best practice guidance, and related legislation. In summary the main changes proposed include:
- Amendments relevant to the Equalities Act 2010 with respect to disabled access vehicles placing duties on drivers of such vehicles to provide assistance and not to charge extra for carriage of passengers in wheelchairs
- Clarification on wheelchair accessible rear-only loading vehicle applications to confirm that whilst we would not normally licence such vehicles, such applications would be considered where substantial evidence is provided to justify deviation from the normal policy of side-loading vehicles
- Replacement of references to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVSA) practical test following withdrawal of this service in late 2016. An equivalent test to ensure that drivers are capable of driving to a professional standard is now provided by a private sector offering
- Clarification to ensure medical check periods do not extend past three years to ensure that drivers remain 'fit and proper'
- Clarification and update on Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks formerly known as Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks
- Private hire operator's licence period updated as per the Deregulation Act 2015 changes to Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976
- Update on the current provision of taxi ranks within Ashford to better reflect location(s) and size. Since the previous policy was written there has been the addition of a new rank in Drum Lane, and some listed sizes have been revised
- Removal of engine size requirement and replacement with a suitable BHP requirement to account for increased presence of electric and hybrid vehicles
- Requirement that new vehicles applications have a full year to run prior to reaching age limit as per the existing policy in order to maintain their suitability for use
- Inclusion of right to work checks and requirements in accordance with the Immigration Act 2016 requirements
- Complete update of the convictions policy in line with Local Government Association (LGA) example policy, which places a greater emphasis on the relevance of prior convictions
- Clarification on record keeping requirements for private hire operators to ensure that licence policy and licence conditions are clear and enforceable
You can also read the Taxi Licensing Policy 2012-2017 [pdf] 865KB
Share your views
The consultation on the draft policy closed on the 28th August 2017, although late comments will still be considered where appropriate.
What happens next?
The responses will be considered and included in the final report to Cabinet on 12 October 2017. This is a public meeting and open to all to attend. View details of the agenda and report.
You can also find out how to participate in this meeting.
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