Council commends improving taxi standards

People travelling by taxi as the nights draw in are advised that the council has been spot-checking drivers to make sure they are hitting high standards.

Published: Tuesday, 22nd October 2019

Cherwell District Council licensing officers and Thames Valley Police traffic officers stopped 18 cars in Banbury, Bicester and Kidlington on 9 October. Two thirds of the drivers were fully compliant with the conditions of their licences. It compares well with the results of previous spot-checks which had seen drivers suspended over safety issues.

Six drivers were issued with improvement notices for minor infringements, such as display of tariff cards and standards of upholstery, none of which would have affected public safety.

Cllr Andrew McHugh, Cherwell’s executive member with responsibility for licensing, said: “In the two and a half years since we launched our new taxi policy we have been consistently training and checking taxi drivers, to make sure they offer a safe, reliable and pleasant experience.

“We can’t be complacent about safety and the experience of taxi customers, but this operation shows a big improvement, with no need to suspend drivers’ licences, which had happened in the past.”

The Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Licensing Policy came into effect in January 2017, introducing a penalty points scheme to keep track of infringements and strengthening the council’s power to revoke licences in cases of serious or repeated offences.

Council officers checked that the vehicles’ plates matched the drivers’ registration documents and that the latter were up to date. They also ensured that hackney meters were sealed, and roof lights switched on.

During the same week, the team investigated a complaint against a vehicle trading from a layby near Caversfield. It was found to be untaxed, uninsured, unroadworthy and not registered with the DVLA. It was seized by the police and the driver will face prosecution.

The council plans to run further taxi spot-checking operations at regular intervals over the coming months.