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Staying Safe When Using Taxis/Private Hire Vehicles

Coronavirus: Licensing - Taxis

Information and advice relating to the Coronavirus is changing on a daily basis and we advise you to keep updated on the current Government & NHS Guidance and adhere to this at all times.

Can I continue to drive as a Licensed Driver?

At present we have not been advised that Licensed Drivers must stop driving but the decision whether to continue to work is with the individual. If you are in the “vulnerable” category or have underlying health issues then you should follow the current Government & NHS Guidance.

Licensing Service

The Licensing Department continue to operate a service but in-line with current guidance we are avoiding all unnecessary face to face office contact with all members of the public.

We are currently not accepting any New Driver or Vehicle applications.  We will consider new vehicle applications should they be a replacement for accident damaged vehicles or for vehicles going off the road due to the age limits.

All other applications will still be accepted and an appointment will still need to be made with the Licensing Office. We are requiring that all documentation is sent via e-mail prior to the appointment therefore removing the need for any applicant/driver coming into the office.

We have been in contact with all of our testing stations who have confirmed that they are all at present still opening and trading for MOT and essential works.  The current situation may change with some opting to operate reduced opening hours or even implementing a full closure.  We have asked that they notify the Licensing Office before closing so we can inform the trade.

Should drivers not wish to work or want to take vehicles off the road and not submit renewal paperwork we ask that they call the office first so we can outline the process.

Current Process

  • Driver/applicant to call licensing office to make appointment as normal- 01283 508585, 508310, 508692, 508505, 508684
  • Driver/applicant will send all documents into the office e-mail address prior to their appointment - e-mail address- licensing@eaststaffsbc.gov.uk 
  • Driver/applicant will be contacted on their appointment date/time for the licensing officer to confirm all correct documentation has been received and any online checks will be carried out and any payments required will be made at this time. You will then be advised of date & time when to collect your plate/badge.
  • Any inspections that are required will be done on plate/badge collection which will be done outside the office

PLEASE NOTE ANYONE ATTENDING THE OFFICE WITHOUT AN APPOINTMENT WILL NOT BE SEEN

Information from the Department for Transport

Please see the following for information on the current situation regarding the continued working of taxis and private hire vehicles:

Taxis and private hire vehicles can continue to work. But the advice is absolutely clear - people should stay at home if possible. That is the way to save lives and protect our NHS. The public should avoid travel unless absolutely essential. The only reasons to leave our houses are set out in the government guidance.

Clearly if absolutely necessary to travel by taxi or private hire vehicle, best efforts should be used to follow the guidance as far as is practically possible, including washing your hands as soon as you get home.

Critical Worker Status

Taxi and private hire drivers should not generally be considered Critical Workers. Those undertaking Home to School transport or the transport of ‘extremely vulnerable’ people may be considered Critical Workers on a case-by-case basis. Critical Workers should also whenever possible make suitable arrangements for their children to stay at home; requests for children to attend school should be discussed with the school.”

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Other ESBC services affected by Coronavirus

East Staffordshire Borough Council licences two types of taxis to carry the public.

Hackney Carriage Vehicles

  • A licensed driver must wear their identification badge at all times.
  • ‘Hackney Carriages’ are also known as ‘taxis’ or ‘cabs’ and display a ‘TAXI’ sign on the roof.
  • A ‘Hackney Carriage’ does not have to be pre-booked and can be flagged down off the street or park on a ‘taxi rank; (we call this ‘plying for hire’)
  • ‘Hackney Carriages’ are fitted with meters which show the price of the fare. Drivers are not allowed to charge more than the shown fare at the end of the journey but can charge less if they choose to do so. They must by law put the meter on.
  • A ‘Hackney Carriage’ can be pre-booked through a Private Hire Operator who has a prior arrangement with the ‘Hackney Carriage’ driver to temporarily operate as a ‘Private Hire Vehicle’
  • ‘Hackney Carriages’ will display a white plate at the rear of the vehicle, stating the licence number and how many passengers the vehicle is licensed to carry. They also display a panel on both front doors, showing the Council’s logo

Private Hire Vehicles

  • A licensed driver must wear their identification badges at all times
  • A ‘Private Hire Vehicle’ can only be hired by a booking made through a licensed Private Hire Operator
  • The ‘fare’ of the journey must be agreed between the Private Hire Operator and the passenger when booking the journey.
  • A ‘Private Hire Vehicle’ cannot ply for hire, park on a taxi rank or be flagged down from the street. This invalidates their insurance policy.  Any person witnessing this should report it to the Enforcement Team.
  • Private Hire Vehicles’ licensed by East Staffordshire Borough Council display green plates at the front and rear of the vehicle, stating the licence number and how many passengers the vehicle can carry. They also display a panel on both front doors, showing the Council’s logo, details of the company and will state ‘advanced bookings only’.

If you are approached by someone in the street, offering you a lift, ignore them as this is classed as touting and is illegal.

A vehicle not displaying door panels, licence plates or the driver not wearing their badge, should not be used in case they are bogus, un-checked and un-insured.

Please report any concerns you have regarding an operator, vehicle or driver that you have used, or propose to use to Enforcement on 01283 508506