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Taxi penalty point scheme to be made permanent

Published on Thursday, September 7, 2017

A PENALTY points scheme designed to improve taxi standards in Leicester is set to be made permanent.

The scheme was brought in on a trial basis back in December 2015 to boost customer safety and confidence in using both Hackney cabs and private hire vehicles.

A 10-point scheme was drawn up covering a range of standards from the existing Code of Conduct which taxi drivers are expected to meet, including the use of roadworthy vehicles, not parking illegally, always wearing identification badges and using meters to record journeys accurately.

Drivers who failed to meet the standards can be given penalty points on their licences. Any driver who accumulates 12 points in three years will have their suitability to hold a taxi licence reviewed by the city council.

Now the city council has decided to make the scheme permanent, after the majority of members of the public supported continuation of the scheme in a consultation in December 2016/January 2017.

So far, 165 penalty points have been issued on 144 occasions to drivers failing to meet the Code of Conduct standards.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “When we first launched this trial nearly 20 months ago, I said I would see how it progressed and make a decision based on that.

“It’s clear that passengers do support the use of such a scheme, even if taxi drivers do not, and I see no reason to put an end to it.

“The penalty points scheme actually simplifies the process of dealing with drivers who do flout the law or fail to meet the expected standards, which helps safeguard passengers and also ensures taxi drivers are clear what is expected of them.” 

The 165 points issued so far have covered offences including parking inappropriately in restricted areas, failing to attend compulsory vehicle safety checks, driving unroadworthy vehicles, failure to wear a badge and failing to display proper taxi licensing plates or signs.

Officers will continue to work to streamline how the penalty point scheme is operated.

One possible change would be to allow licensing enforcement officers to issue penalty points directly to taxi drivers breaching the code of conduct, rather than having drivers attend a hearing to argue their case before points are issued.

Drivers would still be able to contest the points through the council’s complaints procedure.

The decision to make the scheme permanent follows a public consultation held in December 2016 and January 2017, which was open to passengers, taxi drivers and all members of the public.

Of more than 200 people who responded, 112 (55 percent) supported the use of the taxi penalty point scheme, with just under 35 percent opposing it.

Of those of who supported the scheme, 86 percent were members of the public, while 69 percent of those who opposed the scheme were Hackney carriage or private hire drivers or operators.