Cross-border curbs on cabs comes under fire
Reporter: by marina berry
Date online: 06 March 2013
PIONEERING moves by Oldham Council to bring in strict rules to discourage black cabs operating in neighbouring boroughs have been slated by taxi owners.
Next Tuesday’s Licensing Committee will hear officers propose the changes following a number of High Court cases involving the issue.
High Court rulings state that a hackney carriage vehicle licensed by one local authority may be used for pre-booked hirings on behalf of a private hire operator licensed by another local authority.
This is currently taking place in Oldham, with black cabs licensed by Rossendale Council undertaking private hire work for operators licensed by Oldham Council.
But the High Court also says that a local authority may refuse to grant a hackney carriage vehicle licence where the applicant “intends” to use the vehicle entirely or predominantly in another borough.
Oldham licensing officers currently have no information as to where a licensed vehicle will be used.
They want to add a clause asking about the “intended use” of a hackney carriage vehicle, with a presumption to refuse an application where it is the intention of the applicant to ply for hire to a “material extent” outside the borough.
Oldham Metropolitan Borough Taxi Owners’ Association says there are more than 50 black cabs licensed in neighbouring boroughs but operating in Oldham. It says if stricter rules are enforced in Oldham but not in neighbouring boroughs, then it only stops Oldham vehicles working outside the borough without eliminating the root cause of the problem.
It said it would support the move only if and when it is introduced nationwide, and it questions why Oldham council is so keen to trailblaze the idea in the North-West.
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