December 20, 2012
Northampton taxi drivers have won their fight to keep the current three-year age limit which ensures that any taxis being licensed for the first time are not more than three years old at the time of purchase.
The cabbies feared that loosening the age restriction for new taxis would encourage new drivers to buy cheaper, unreliable and unsafe vehicles.
Jonathan Hills, secretary of the Northampton Hackney Drivers Association (NHDA), said: “Relaxing the rule on older taxis would attract drivers from other towns who can pick up a £500 hackney taxi somewhere. That would also increase the number of drivers trying to make a living out of passengers in Northampton.”
Councillors’ Change of Heart
Members of Northampton Borough Council’s licensing committee had a change of heart after a passionate presentation by local taxi drivers.
A compromise was made that the proposal would be looked at again in the future with the plans to stretch the age limit to 5 years in 2015. It was agreed that this would allow time for the current drivers to pay off outstanding finance on their vehicles.
The NHDA pointed out that the number of customers had fallen in the past year and, with major road works set to commence in the New Year at their busiest rank at Northampton train station, rank spaces would be limited.
Taxi Age Limit Stays
Councillor Terry Wire commented: “The last thing we want is a £500, 15 year old cab coming up from London and picking up people here.
“The whole reason for this committee is to look after the welfare of passengers, and getting rid of an age limit would not serve that purpose.”