March 29, 2019
Taxi drivers in Portsmouth are happy with the outcome of a recent licensing meeting.
New plans are in place to loosen licensing rules following discussions held between taxi drivers and council members. A large group of taxi drivers attended the committee meeting held on March 22, where the cabbies shared their opinions, hoping to make the rules less stringent.
Councillors acknowledged these views and both parties made suggestions of ways to increase taxi use in the city.
Taxi Licensing Rules
Current rules in place state that a vehicle can’t be older than three years prior to being used as a taxi in Portsmouth. Another rule specifies that vehicles older than eight years can’t be licensed for taxi purposes.
Councillor Ian Lyon said: “We know that in the last five or six years vehicles have improved significantly and are made more roadworthy for much longer.
“Clearly the point that we should be taking is that in 2015 test failures for cars aged between three and six was 72 percent and in 2017 it was 29 percent.
“It seems to reflect the fact that vehicles are better made or more appropriate for town use than they might have been in the past.”
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson agreed with Mr Lyon and said: “If a vehicle has failed and continues to fail then I understand it needs to go off the road.
“But if it fails and passes, why do we have this artificial thing of saying it can’t be on the road any more just because of its age?”
Portsmouth taxis currently undergo tests similar to an M.O.T. Taxis that are three years and under, require testing once every two years., and taxis four years and above are being tested once a year.
In the event a taxi fails its test, the vehicle is taken off the road with immediate effect, until repairs are completed, before being re-tested. Minor exterior defects, such as denting, can result in a failed test.
Councillor Steve Pitt commented: “Bear in mind that we’re dealing with people’s livelihoods here. They don’t know when it goes to the garage if it’s going to fail. Why don’t we allow for a couple of days grace period?”
Councillors considered Mr Pitt’s comments and said taxi drivers should have at least two days to fix any repairs and minimise loss of earnings. Portsmouth taxi drivers were in favour of the suggested recommendations and look forward to more relaxed rules.