TAXI drivers will have to fit CCTV cameras in their cabs and make daily safety checks to comply with new regulations being brought in by Craven District Council.

All hackney carriage and private hire drivers will have to install security cameras as well as adopt improved work practices - including make sure tyres have sufficient tread - as part of a new taxi licensing policy.

Cllr Simon Myers, chairman of the council’s Licensing Committee, said at last Thursday’s meeting, that the aim was to improve safety for both drivers and their customers and to develop a workable policy which embodied best practice. He stressed that it was just a small minority of drivers, but that some had been using cars with bald tyres, and that was just not acceptable.

“We know that most taxi drivers are extremely good and extremely careful. They are providing a service for the elderly and infirm, the vulnerable and children and it is very important that the public have faith,” he said. “There is a small minority of drivers who feel they don’t have to check vehicles and that it is acceptable to drive around with bald tyres, and that is just not acceptable.”

He acknowledged that because the cost of installing cameras was expensive - about £300 to £400 - drivers would be given until 2020 to get them fitted.

“We are not trying to make life difficult, but we believe for the safety of drivers and the travelling public, CCTV is necessary,” he said.

Also agreed was to allow drivers to set a charge to pick up a fare a distance away from Skipton. The additional charge will be subject to a period of consultation before being adopted.

Cllr Myers said it was not fair to expect drivers to go from Skipton to somewhere like Grassington to deliver a customer to perhaps Threshfield without being allowed to set a further charge.

“It seems only fair that a taxi driver who is driving some distance receives compensation for doing so,” he said.

A working group of members from the licensing committee has been working with taxi drivers since last year on the revised taxi licensing policy.

Cllr Myers told the meeting, in Skipton Town Hall and attended by about 30 people, that the new policy was fit for the 21st century.

“What we are trying to do is develop a culture where drivers get into the habit of checking their vehicles. We don’t want to catch people out, we want to encourage best practice. We want the travelling public to be able to get into taxis and be confident that they are safe,” he said.

The revised policy has also taken account of national experience and best practice drawn from other licensing authorities.