Decision due on changes to taxi and cab licensing in Bradford

A decision is expected next week on new rules governing hackney carriage and private hire vehicles licensed in the district.

Bradford Council, which is responsible for issuing the licences, has carried out a review of the fees and conditions, and a number of recommendations have been made.

These include improving training, extending driver licence periods, changes to annual testing criteria, and clarification on whether criminal convictions and driving licence penalty points can prevent a driver from being issued a licence.

The matter was first discussed by the Council’s regulatory and appeals committee last month, but a decision was deferred as councillors wanted more information on current procedures and examples of the exceptional circumstances in which a licence may be issued.

In a new report to the committee, Carol Stos, the Council’s fleet and licensing manager, said: “In general terms, anyone suspected of contravening a licensing requirement is initially interviewed by either a licensing or enforcement office.

“The officer seeks to ascertain all relevant facts and presents these, where required, to the licensing manager. The licensing manager considers the facts against the relevant requirements along with any mitigating circumstances (for non-safety contraventions only) and where contraventions are confirmed will forward the case for the attention of the reviewing officer.

“The reviewing officer is an independent senior Council officer who sits outside of the licensing office structure. Their role is to ascertain whether an applicant is ‘fit and proper’ to be granted a driver’s or operator’s licence.

“With regards criminal convictions, the reviewing officer reviews the circumstances of the case to determine whether a person poses a threat to the public and is in fact ‘fit and proper’ to be granted or hold a licence.”

The changes involve giving drivers the option to apply for a three- year licence rather than having to renew it every year, a saving of £44.

There is also the issue of fees for drivers’ badges and vehicle testing and licensing, after an increase of 35 per cent in 2009. The higher fees were supposed to include a free MoT test, but this proved unworkable. The new system put forward will involve reducing the fees for vehicles over six years old from £350 a year to £250 a year, with one test required a year, instead of two.

The committee will be asked to approve the recommendations when it meets on Thursday, at 10am in City Hall, Bradford.

e-mail: jo.winrow@telegraphandargus.co.uk

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