Members received a report asking them to consider whether or not to undertake a consultation exercise regarding introducing requirements for the display of livery on hackney carriage and private hire vehicles licensed by the Council.
The Senior Practitioner (Licensing) (SPL), Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS) presented the report and explained that when issuing licences the Council could attach such conditions as it deemed to be necessary. In some areas Councils attached conditions requiring the display of signage or livery on licensed vehicles. Typically the signage would include the logo of the council together with information identifying the vehicle and its status as either a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle.
The aim of the livery would be to indicate to members of the public that the vehicle had been licensed by the council as either a hackney carriage or a private hire vehicle and provide assurance that the vehicle had been properly checked and approved.
The options for installing the signage on vehicles included wording being sign-written on directly to the body, or separate signs being affixed either magnetically or using an adhesive decal. The SPL had brought some samples of the magnetic signage and the adhesive decals used by other councils to show the Members, together with some examples of what the art work might look like for signage for Redditch Borough Council.
With regard to cost, the adhesive decal signage would cost approximately £7.50 for two doors. To add a magnetic base for the decal to be attached to would cost an additional £5.00, giving a total cost for magnetic signs of £12.50 for two doors. It was not being suggested that the proposed signage would replace the current licence plate displayed on the rear of vehicles. This would still be displayed and the signage would be additional.
In response to questions from Members the SPL confirmed that:-
· The potential advantage of introducing livery would be to identify vehicles licensed by the Council and that this may be of value to some passengers particular those who were looking for reassurance regarding standards and that the driver would have local knowledge of the area. By contrast, these issues might not be important to other passengers.
· If signage was lost or stolen there would probably have to be a replacement cost to the drivers in the same way as currently applies to lost or stolen licence plates.
· It would be open to customers booking private hire vehicles to request a vehicle licensed by Redditch but legally the operator could still out source jobs to other licensed drivers. Passengers might find that there was a longer wait for a Redditch licensed vehicle, and if that vehicle had had to travel a greater distance to pick them up, this might be reflected in higher charges.
In debating the report Members were generally in support of proceeding with a consultation exercise and referred to the potential advantages of providing the travelling public with a means of more readily identifying which vehicles had been licensed by the Council. Other views were expressed questioning the possible financial impact on drivers of the introduction of a livery together with concerns that use of the adhesive decal option could lead to paintwork being damaged when the stickers were removed.
Officers undertake consultation on the introduction of requirements in relation to the display of livery in hackney carriage and private hire vehicles licensed by the Council.