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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee held on 11/06/2007
Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Age Policy Proposals



Annexe 6

LICENSING AND REGULATORY COMMITTEE - 11TH JUNE 2007

TAXI AND PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE AGE POLICY PROPOSALS

Should the Committee/Council be minded to amend to proposal for three and five year policies for licensing vehicles, the following replacement to Annexe 3 of the consultation document is offered for consideration

Taxi and private hire - saloon vehicles
The Council’s current policy is that vehicles can be licensed up to the age of 10 years. In practice, many vehicles are run right up to that limit, and the officers have to advise that an application to continue licensing a vehicle which will have its ‘10th birthday’ during the licence year will have the option to transfer the licence to a newer vehicle before the 10th birthday, or the licence cannot run for the full year. Officers tend to advise (if asked) that any new vehicle to be licensed should not be more than around 7 years old, although there is no power to refuse a licence to an older vehicle, provided it passes the mechanical and comfort test.

There is always a special proviso for vehicles of ‘special quality’ and that is a subjective and mechanical judgement, which is not very often called upon. Where there is any doubt, such requests would be brought to the Licensing Sub-Committee for consideration. Any vehicle permitted to remain licensed would be subject to additional mechanical tests at the time, and again during the extra year.

It is now proposed that the 10-year age policy is revised via a sliding scale, starting in January 2008. Following the sliding scale below, the oldest vehicle in Waverley’s fleet of licensed taxis and private hire vehicles (unless special quality judgement is requested) will be as follows: If the Committee considers that vehicles may be licensed up to the age of 8 years:

PROPOSED FOR SALOON STYLE LICENSED VEHICLES
The vehicle can continue provided it is already licensed and have the licence renewed provided it passes inspection and other standards and is aged as follows:

Vehicles due for Renewal:

From January 2008:-
9 years old maximum unless already running to 10 yr mark (special dispensation)

From January 2009 -
8 years old maximum
Thus from January 2009, no vehicle would be able to have the licence renewed unless it was under 8 years - if this option is selected.

From January 2010 -
7 years old maximum (but only if the Committee selects 7 years as a maximum age)
Thus from January 2010, no vehicle would be able to have the licence renewed unless it was under 7 years - if this option is selected.

Vehicles new to Licensing

New Licences (including vehicles transferred on to replace other cars)
It is also proposed that the age for bringing a new vehicle into licensing should be similarly reduced, by the following mechanism:

From January 2008 :- 7years old maximum
From January 2009 - 6 years old maximum
From January 2010 - 5 years old maximum
From January 2011 - 4 years old maximum
From January 2012 - 3 years old maximum

From January 2012, no vehicle would be licensed unless it was under 3 years old.
Thus, by September 2011 the new standard maximum age for licensed saloon vehicles will be 5 years old, and after this they will probably not be licensed. The new standard age for an application to license a new vehicle would be up to and not more than 3 years of age.

EXEMPTIONS FOR OTHER/‘SPECIAL’ VEHICLES

It is proposed that purpose built vehicles such as London-style black cabs and minibuses should be permitted to retain the 10-year age limit, or even to extend this to 12 years, since these vehicles are built with the clear purpose of covering many miles and giving long service, rather than a ‘family-style’ saloon car. In addition, there should be a similar incentive for those who invest in a wheelchair-accessible vehicle, always provided that it is in excellent condition both mechanically and for comfort of the passengers. However, the age limits for new licences should be reduced on the above sliding scale, so that new licensed vehicles will be fit for purpose. Clearly, this involves a substantial investment for the proprietor, but if the vehicle is permitted to have a longer life, this investment should bring its own reward.

Recommendation

That

1. the sliding scale for licensed vehicles, with the special exemption for specialised vehicles, be approved; and

2. the Committee will need to decide which maximum age for special exemption it would prefer: 10 years or 12 years.

Comms/licensing07-08/015.doc