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Taxi and Private Hire Policy consultation

This consultation is now closed.

Thank you to everyone who took part. The results are now being analysed and will be considered to help shape the policy.

A report that reviews the findings and your feedback will be considered by a Public Meeting of the Licensing Committee on 12 March 2024 at 10:30 on the first floor of the Ellesmere Port Library, Civic Way, Ellesmere Port CH65 0BE.

Information about this meeting including the report (when published) is available online. Any amendments to policy approved by Licensing Committee as a result of the consultation exercise will be published online.

This consultation seeks the views of the public and hackney carriage/private hire businesses regarding the current Hackney and Private Hire Policy.

This policy covers all aspects of the terms and conditions for licensing hackney carriage and private hire drivers, vehicles and operators. Those taking part will be able to comment on all aspects of the policy.

One of the key objectives of the consultation is the review of the age policy (entry and exit vehicle age restrictions) for licenced vehicles. The current age policy was introduced with the intention of encouraging the uptake Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (primarily electric vehicles) within the hackney carriage and private hire trades.

The consultation results will assist the Council to determine if the current policy is still relevant or amendments are necessary.

Background

Hackney carriage

There are 273 hackney carriage vehicles in the Borough.

Generally known as Taxis (they have a "Taxi" sign on the roof), these vehicles are available for immediate hire and can hailed in the street or hired from a designated rank. Hackney carriages can also be pre booked in advance in the same way as a private hire vehicle.

They must have a fare meter that displays the fare charged (based on time and distance). The Council sets the maximum rate per distance/time.

In Cheshire West and Chester hackney carriages operate in three zones, Chester (160 vehicles), Ellesmere Port and Neston (48 vehicles) and Vale Royal (62 vehicles).

All hackney carriages are wheelchair accessible (WAVs). These WAVs have been permanently adapted to enable a passenger using a standard wheelchair to enter, exit and travel safely and securely whilst remaining in their wheelchair for the entire journey.

The majority of these vehicles can carry six or more passengers and have other aids to improve accessibility such as additional steps, contrasting colour grab handles and seat flashes and fitted hearing loops. Legislation allows the councils to determine and restrict the type of vehicle to be licensed as a hackney carriage.

Private hire

There are 1,312 private hire vehicles and 135 private hire operators in the borough.

These vehicles can only be booked in advance through a licenced private hire operator. They cannot be hailed in the street or booked via the driver.

About 2 per cent of private hire vehicles are wheelchair accessible (WAVs). The fleet is predominately four-door saloon vehicles with some people carriers and minibuses. Private hire vehicles have no restrictions in the areas they can operate within the Borough. The Council does not have any control of the fares charged by the private hire operator.

Though subject to some general conditions, legislation does not allow councils to determine what type of vehicle can be licensed as a private hire vehicle or if it must be wheelchair accessible.

Drivers of licenced vehicles

There are 1,638 Licensed Drivers

Drivers must be able to demonstrate that they are and remain "fit and proper" (safe and suitable). This requires new applicants undertaking and passing a vocational training package including safeguarding training, a driving assessment, medical assessment, and a criminal records check. Existing licensed drivers have to undertake regular criminal records checks.

Share your views

Hackney (Taxi) and Private Hire Policy consultation 2023

Any questions, requests for additional information, copies of any of the documents or comments on the consultation can be emailed to ledo@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk.

Write to us at: Licensing Team, Cheshire West and Chester Council, The Portal, Wellington Road, Ellesmere Port, CH65 0BA.

Telephone: 0300 123 7737 and quote Taxi and Private Hire Policy consultation.

What happens next?

The results of the consultation will be reported to the Council's Licensing Committee on 12 March 2024. The report, details of the meeting (that the public can attend) and any changes made to the policy as a result of the consultation will be available.

Licensing Committee - Tuesday, 12 March, 2024 at 10.30am

The revised policy will be published on 1 April 2024.

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Accessibility

Council information is also available in audio, braille, large print or other formats. If you would like a copy in a different format, in another language or require a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter, please contact us: