Taxi and private hire news

Here you can catch up with the latest news about what is happening in the taxi and private hire trades in Trafford - from Council decisions and new initiatives to enforcement operations and prosecutions.

If you have news you think may be of interest to the taxi and private hire trades, please get in touch using the details provided on this page.

Latest updates regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Trafford Council is monitoring the current situation on coronavirus, closely following information and advice published by the government.

We recognise the important role that the trade plays and will continue to play in the life of the borough, and we will do all we can to support existing licence holders. We have had to make some difficult decisions and we wanted to make you aware of the following changes to our service for the next few months:

  • All business will be conducted via email licensing@trafford.gov.uk
  • Until otherwise advised there will be no face-to-face Licensing counter provision at Trafford Town Hall.
  • The processing of new private hire and Hackney Carriage vehicle and driver licences will be temporarily suspended until 1 July 2020 except:
    • where the application is for a replacement vehicle licence;
    • transfer; or
    • where the vehicle licence application is from a new Hackney Carriage or private hire driver granted a licence since the 1 September 2019.
  • In respect of all existing private hire and Hackney Carriage vehicle and driver licences due to expire in April, May, June 2020 the following will apply:
    • Drivers and vehicle owners will have the option to extend their existing licence until 30 September 2020, with the payment for this period deferred for collection at a later date
    • Extensions will be approved upon submitting an online application for the extension of a private hire or Hackney Carriage Driver’s licence and / or an application for the extension of a private hire or Hackney Carriage vehicle licence.
    • Where a driver’s DBS is due during this period, they will be required to prove they have started the checking process before they are granted an extension. A solution has been sourced which will allow drivers to apply on-line for a DBS certificate for a charge of £49.50
    • Where a driver’s medical is due to expire during this period, the requirement for a new medical certificate from the driver’s own GP is suspended until 30 September 2020; provided that the driver has completed the on-line medical self-certification form.
    • Upon completion and approval of the necessary forms, drivers and vehicle owners will receive a PDF confirmation via email that their licence has been extended without prejudice.
    • Drivers will need to print the confirmation and keep it with them when working or be able to show a copy on their mobile phone. They will also be required to wear their expired badges and display the expired plate until such time as updated badges and plates can be issued.
    • Where the MOT of a licensed vehicle is due to expire in April, May, June 2020 there is no requirement to produce an MOT to the Licensing Team and this will apply until at least 30 September 2020. This position will be reviewed in advance of 30 September 2020 to determine future arrangements in respect of MOTs.

We will update you if service provision changes due to changes in Government guidance.

We know the trade are facing a very challenging and difficult time and Licensing Team will do everything possible to support you. If you have any questions regarding the above matters please email them to licensing@trafford.gov.uk

Trafford Council Licensing 17 April 2020

We have implemented the following procedures to ensure that licence applications are processed and the service can continue to operate during this challenging period:

Knowledge test suspended

The knowledge test process is temporarily suspended until further notice.

We will be in touch when we are in a position to re-instate the knowledge test process. This will rely on advice coming from the government and we have no timescales to advise further.

Medicals

Where a driver’s medical is due to expire during this period, the requirement for a new medical certificate from the driver’s own GP is suspended until 30 September 2020; provided that the driver has completed the online medical self-certification form.

Accident notifications

Email photographs of the damage to licensing@trafford.gov.uk

Hackney Carriage / private hire drivers (badges)

  • Drivers and vehicle owners will have the option to extend their existing licence until 30 September 2020, with the payment for this period deferred for collection at a later date
  • Where a driver’s DBS is due during this period, they will be required to prove they have started the checking process before they are granted an extension. A solution has been sourced which will allow drivers to apply on-line for a DBS certificate for a charge of £49.50

Renewal of Hackney Carriage / private hire vehicles (plates)

New or transfer of Hackney Carriage / private hire vehicles (plates)

The processing of new private hire and hackney carriage vehicle and driver licences will be temporarily suspended until 1 July 2020; except

  • where the application is for a replacement vehicle licence;
  • transfer; or
  • where the vehicle licence application is from a new Hackney Carriage or private hire driver granted a licence since the 1 September 2019.

Email licensing@trafford.gov.uk with the following;

  • Application form
  • Log book (pages 1&2)
  • Insurance Certificate (Hire & Reward)
  • MOT (clear with no advisories and no minor defects)
  • Bill of Sale – either from the garage / dealer / auction or private sales letter must be provided from the previous owner giving their name, address, all vehicle details, new owner details and address, and signed and dated by both parties.
  • Photographs of vehicle front, both sides and rear.

Once these documents have been received, a Licensing Officer will check them and call you to take payment for your application, and post out the licence plate.

Owner transfer of Hackney Carriage / private hire vehicles

The processing of new private hire and hackney carriage vehicle and driver licences will be temporarily suspended until 1 July 2020; except

  • where the application is for a replacement vehicle licence;
  • transfer; or
  • where the vehicle licence application is from a new Hackney Carriage or private hire driver granted a licence since the 1 September 2019.

Email licensing@trafford.gov.uk with the following;

  • Application form
  • Log book (pages 1&2) or new keeper slip – licence will only be issued for one month if a full log book is not provided.
  • Insurance Certificate (Hire & Reward)
  • Bill of Sale – either from the garage / dealer / auction or private sales letter must be provided from the previous owner giving their name, address, all vehicle details, new owner details and address, and signed and dated by both parties.

Once these documents have been received, a Licensing Officer will check them and call you to take payment for your application, and post out your plate.

Updated Government guidance

The Government has issued updated guidiance for staff in the transport sector which you should read.

In particular please pay attention to paragraphs 4.2 and 4.8 about taking necessary precautions about frequent hand washing and cleaning frequently touched objects and surfaces this should include door handles and seat belt buckles of vehicles.

If you have any queries regarding this, or any other licensing related matter, contact a Licensing Officer either by phone on 0161 912 4242 or email licensing@trafford.gov.uk

Greater Manchester minimum standards for taxis and private hire

You may have heard about the work being undertaken by Licensing Managers across Greater Manchester to develop a consistent approach to Hackney Carriage and private hire licensing. This is a significant piece of work, with potentially wide ranging implications for the trade and the industry within Greater Manchester.

The proposed minimum standards have been developed by the ten Greater Manchester authorities to achieve a single vision for licensed vehicles in future, which support the GM Clean Air Plan proposals to tackle air pollution across Greater Manchester.

These proposals will allow any person using a vehicle licensed in Greater Manchester to be assured that a high level and standard of check has been carried out. In addition, this will ensure, as far as possible, that the driver can be trusted, the vehicle is safe, and is not contributing to poor air quality. They will also be assured, as far as possible, that any operator licensed in Greater Manchester who they book a journey with will hold their information safely and that it will not be misused. This supports the key licensing principles of public protection.

A leaflet explaining some of the proposed GM Minimum Standards is now available to read or download in advance of the formal consultation. The GM Authorities are still seeking clarification from Government in relation to aspects of both the clean air plan and their intentions around national minimum standards for taxis and private hire vehicles. The formal consultation on GM minimum standards is on hold pending the necessary clarifications.

New driver applications

If you wish to apply to be a Hackney Carriage or private hire driver please complete the registration for taxi driver application. Your details will be kept on a waiting list until we can send you an appointment date to submit your application.

The application form, medical form and DBS form should not be completed and signed earlier than 28 days before submission to the Licensing office.

If you have completed and submitted the web form do not ring the Licensing Office to enquire about progress. You are on the waiting list and you will be contacted when we are in a position to offer you an appointment.

We have a large waiting list and there is a significant waiting time for appointments.

In May 2018 Trafford Council consulted about proposals to reintroduce a Driver Knowledge Test for all new driver applicants; and to increase the English language standard to that expected for those seeking naturalisation as a British citizen.

On the 20th September 2018 the Council’s Public Protection Sub-Committee considered the results of the consultation exercise and a report which contained proposals in relation to the Driver Knowledge Test. The Sub-Committee decided that it was in the interests of public safety that a Driver Knowledge Test be reintroduced into Trafford Council’s driver application process and that the standards of the English Language requirement be increased.

A summary of the changes to the application process:

English language standard

Adequate communication skills and language proficiency are considered by Trafford Council to be essential for the work of a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle driver.

Drivers need to correctly understand and follow directional instructions from a passenger, to effectively handle fare disputes and be able to give and follow instructions in an emergency situation which may be stressful. It is also vital that licensed drivers understand and adequately communicate when they are the subject of complaint or enforcement interventions.

Therefore, as part of the application process for a Hackney Carriage / private hire driver’s licence, all new applicants will be required to demonstrate that they meet the required English language minimum standards during the application process.

The knowledge test

Hackney Carriage and private hire vehicle drivers need a working knowledge of Trafford and the surrounding areas that they work in and Trafford Council consider it to be essential that drivers have an awareness of general factors that will affect they how they operate as a licensed driver.

Therefore, as part of the application process for a Hackney Carriage / private hire driver’s licence, all new applicants will be required to undertake the Council’s Driver Knowledge Test.

Applicants are wholly responsible for the costs associated with undertaking the Council’s Driver Knowledge Test during the application process.

What it means for you

We are therefore writing to let you know that from the 1 September 2019 we implemented the Driver Knowledge Test requirement and the new standard of English Language requirement into the Council’s Driver Application process. This means that all Hackney Carriage or private hire driver applications processed after the 1 September 2019 will require applicants to undertake the Council’s Driver Knowledge Test and to demonstrate that they meet the new English language standard as part of the application process.

What will happen next?

We will contact you by email when we reach your position on the waiting list with further details of the Council’s application process and what is required of you. At that point, we will confirm the steps of the application process and the fees that will be payable by you in respect of the application process.

We can confirm that we will be dealing with people in accordance with their existing place in the current queue. Whilst we are using our best endeavours to get to each person on the waiting list as quickly as we are able to do so, a considerable queue has formed to date which means that there may be a considerable delay before we reach you depending on your current position on the waiting list.

Trafford unmet demand survey 2015

Under the Transport Act 1985, councils may only limit the number of hackney carriage vehicle licences issued for its area where there is no 'significant unmet demand'. The issue of whether or not there is significant unmet demand must be determined through robust statistical analysis of the results of a survey of the demand within that Authority's area. Recent Government guidance recommends that such surveys are undertaken every three years.

In Spring 2015 the Council arranged for a survey to be undertaken to report on the demand for Hackney Carriages in Trafford. The final report is available to download below: