Taxi

Hackney carriage and private hire licensing fees to be harmonised

Plans have been backed to bring together hackney carriage and private hire licensing fees ahead of the launch of a new council covering the whole of North Yorkshire in the spring.

Currently, the existing seven borough and district councils in North Yorkshire set their own hackney carriage and private hire licensing fees. But ahead of the new North Yorkshire Council becoming the sole licensing authority from April 1, proposals have been endorsed for a single set of fees, so that they are consistent across the county.

The decision to pursue the plans to unify the fees was taken by North Yorkshire County Council and meets national legislation, which states local authorities should not make a profit and demonstrate the charges have been sufficiently set to cover associated costs. These costs include vehicle and operators’ licences, inspections of vehicles, the provision of hackney carriage stands and administration and other costs relating to vehicle and operators’ licences.

North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for open to business, Cllr Derek Bastiman, said: “When someone travels in a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle, it is imperative that they can do so safe in the knowledge that a licence has been issued appropriately with the necessary due diligence and background checks.

“The proposed licence fees ensure we can provide the administration of vehicle and operators’ licences, carry out essential inspections of vehicles so that passengers can continue to travel safely and maintain hackney carriage stands, as well as the enforcement of the licences, without creating an additional cost to the taxpayer.

"With the launch of a single local licensing authority for North Yorkshire, the proposed fees also ensure hackney carriage and private hire licence holders and taxi operators across the county are treated equally, and will hopefully encourage them to continue to invest in and maintain high-quality and safe vehicles.

"The proposed fees are subject to a 28-day consultation period, so I would encourage anyone who requires a licence to share their views."

To determine the proposed fees, a nationally recognised tool has been used – along with the consideration of the existing fees across the seven borough and district councils.

The proposed fee for a 12-month hackney carriage licence is £350 or £280 for a renewal, while a private hire vehicle is £330 or £265 for a renewal. Drivers will still be able to apply for a three-year licence for a hackney carriage, a private hire vehicle or both categories, which provides financial savings.

These fees would only apply when applying for a new licence or renewing an existing licence after April 1, when the new council launches. Drivers with an existing licence that is still valid will not need to renew until the expiry date shown.

From today (Monday, January 23), the proposed fees will be subject to a statutory 28-day notice period for people to share their views by emailing taxiconsultation@northyorks.gov.uk

The harmonisation of the hackney carriage and private hire licensing fees follows the county council’s decision to adopt a single hackney carriage and private hire taxi licensing policy for the whole of North Yorkshire.

The draft policy, which was subject to a 12-week public consultation, seeks to ensure that the public continues to be provided with safe and accessible hackney carriage and private hire vehicles, as well as a coherent regulatory framework for the trade across the county. The outcome of the consultation will be presented to the county council’s executive in February.

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