Newark and Sherwood District Council’s taxi inspectors are concerned about out-of-district taxi operators over-charging passengers.
Passengers using taxis in Newark and Sherwood are being urged to support their local cabbies.
Issues of over-charging and the condition of out-of-district operators’ vehicles have become a concern for Newark and Sherwood District Council’s taxi inspectors.
The council is responsible for taxi licensing in the district but does not have authority over cabbies and their vehicles who are not licensed by the district council.
This means inspectors cannot, for example, stop a taxi to check on the condition of the vehicle or verify the driver’s credentials.
Deregulation in 2015 brought changes to the taxi trade meaning that a private hire driver does not have to live or operate in the local area that grants his or her licence.
This has led to an influx of out-of-town vehicles competing against Newark and Sherwood District Council-licensed vehicles.
Alan Batty, the council’s public protection business manager, said: “Although taxi operators from outside the district are not doing anything illegal by working in Newark and Sherwood, they are beyond our control and passengers will find that they will be charged considerably more for a journey than if they use a taxi firm that is licensed in Newark and Sherwood.
“As a licensing authority, we do not know these out-of-town firms and we won’t have inspected their vehicles or checked their drivers as we do not have the power to do so.
“Our advice is that when booking, make sure you use a Newark and Sherwood District Council licensed taxi.
“Check with the driver if necessary as this supports local trade. People need to be aware that not all licensed drivers/vehicles go through the same safeguarding and safety checks that the district council carry out.
“Please also check out the fare before you agree to proceed with your intended journey.”
The council is responsible for licensing Hackney carriages, private hire vehicles and their drivers who must have enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks and be registered with the DBS Update Service, which allows the authority to check a driver’s record at any time.
Regular DVLA checks are carried out on all drivers as well as medical assessments to ensure they are fit and proper to hold a licence. Cabbies, whose standard of driving is checked by a local driving instructor, must also sit a knowledge test.
All drivers attend a mandatory safeguarding course giving advice on who to contact if they have safeguarding concerns.
This is standard across Nottinghamshire as a result of child sexual exploitation cases elsewhere in the country.
Taxis can be pre-booked or hailed in the street and sit on taxi ranks, while private hire vehicles cannot sit on a taxi rank or be flagged down. People using private hire vehicles should agree a fare (or rate per miles) when booking a journey.
All taxis are fitted with a meter set to Newark and Sherwood District Council tariffs and cannot charge more than the metered fare, but can charge less.
Vehicles must be under five years old when first licensed (changing to under four years old from September) and not more than eight on renewal. Wheelchair-accessible vehicles must be under seven years when first licensed and not more than 12 on renewal.
All district council-licensed cars are tested for their roadworthiness every six months.
Anyone with a comment/complaint regarding taxis operating in the district can contact the council by calling 01636 655000 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org