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Bradford Council urged to reconsider new rules for taxis
8:00am Tuesday 27th August 2013 in News
A controversial ban on six and eight-seater taxis should be reconsidered, according to a councillor.
Bradford Council has decided that from now on, it will no longer be granting taxi licences to six or eight-seater vehicles because of safety fears.
Earlier this month, a Regulatory and Appeals Panel decided all passengers should be able to get out of taxis in an emergency without having to move or climb over a seat.
Officers have recommended cabbies remove one seat in such a vehicle if they want to get a licence to trade.
Vehicles which are already licensed will not be affected.
But Tory councillor Debbie Davies is calling for the decision to be reconsidered. She said the move would harm honest business people, giving the example of a cabbie featured in the Telegraph & Argus who said it would cost his firm thousands of pounds.
Michael Fryer, of Michael’s Private Hire in Baildon, said he would lose £10,000 a year in revenue if he had to run a seven-seater cab rather than an eight-seater.
Mr Fryer, who runs one vehicle, an eight-seater Mercedes Vito, said while he wouldn’t be forced to change his current vehicle, he would be affected when the time came to replace it.
Coun Davies has now written to the chairman of the panel, Councillor David Warburton, asking whether Mr Fryer could speak to them directly at their next meeting.
Coun Davies said: “Surely if a decision taken is wrong then it should be overturned at the earliest opportunity, as that shows that the Council is prepared to listen to genuine concerns from reputable people trying to make a living.”
She said the new rules made no sense, as such vehicles passed all safety checks and were also used by families as well as being used as taxis.
Coun Warburton said the decision had been taken after an in-depth consultation with taxi drivers.
He said: “I’ll be quite honest, so shortly after us going through a policy review – and it wasn’t just about this – I don’t feel it’s appropriate to bring it back to the panel.”
Coun Warburton said the panel did not just have to consider taxi firms, but also had a wider duty of care to the public.
He said: “It’s a two-edged sword. Yes, we try and support businesses, but yes we have that duty of care to the community.”