A public consultation is currently taking place on proposed changes to the current Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy.
Members of the public, businesses and the taxi trade are being invited to have their say on the revised taxi licensing policy, to ensure licensed drivers, vehicles and operators working in the borough continue to be of the highest standard.
Following on from discussions with drivers and operators across the borough, additions to the policy will focus on customer and driver safety, as well as making taxi services more eco-friendly. The proposals include ensuring staff responsible for dispatching vehicles undergo appropriate safeguarding checks, incentivising the use of ultra-low emission vehicles and improving vehicle signage so the public can easily recognise a Rotherham licensed taxi and driver.
Other recommendations put forward include:
- Clearer signage for passengers who want to activate audio recording
- More options for the way drivers display their badge when on duty
- Changes to driver medical assessments meaning that, with prior agreement from the Licensing Manager, a medical assessment can be carried out by a GP practice other than the driver’s own.
- Strengthening the Council’s approach to equality and diversity to ensure that both taxi operators and customers are protected from hate crime
- Refresher training and assessment of a drivers’ knowledge, driving ability and approach to safeguarding vulnerable passengers when a licence is renewed.
The Council introduced its Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy in July 2015 and it is widely regarded as the benchmark standard for other local authorities in Taxi and Private Hire licensing.
Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads & Community Safety, Councillor Emma Hoddinott, said: “The Council’s taxi licensing policy has come a long way since being introduced in 2015. We already have strong regulations in place, but there is still room for improvement. The Council is committed to further improving taxi licensing for customers, drivers and operators.”
The consultation will be open until Thursday 27 February 2020. Following the consultation, a final policy will be drafted from the responses and this will be presented at Cabinet where, subject to approval, the final policy will be adopted.
Chair of the Licensing Committee, Cllr Sue Ellis, said: “We encourage all residents of the borough to give their thoughts about the consultation. It’s only by working together that we can further improve and protect our communities. Many of the proposals put forward reflect the concerns and suggestions from members of the public since we introduced the policy, as well as from the talks with the taxi industry, however, it is important that this consultation formalises these suggestions.”
Drop-in sessions will be held across the borough to give more information about the consultation. These sessions are open to all at:
- Rotherham Town Hall, The Crofts, Moorgate Street, Rotherham, S60 2TH – Friday 31 January, 9.30am-11.30am
- Swinton Library, Station Street, Swinton, Mexborough, S64 8PZ - Monday 3 February, 11.00am-1pm
- Dinnington Library, Laughton Road, Dinnington, Sheffield, S25 2PS - Tuesday 11 February, 2.30pm-4.30pm