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Consultation launched over taxis in west Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 05:30 29 January 2020

Private hire taxis in Bury St Edmunds. Vehicles could sport a uniform livery under West Suffolk Council proposals being considered by cab drivers and residents. Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCIL

Private hire taxis in Bury St Edmunds. Vehicles could sport a uniform livery under West Suffolk Council proposals being considered by cab drivers and residents. Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCIL

West Suffolk Council

Taxis in west Suffolk could have a standard livery, a single licensing zone and uniform rules on vehicle ages and criminal convictions for drivers under new proposals.

Taxis in Newmarket. This colour scheme could be rolled out for all Hackney carriages in West Suffolk. Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCILTaxis in Newmarket. This colour scheme could be rolled out for all Hackney carriages in West Suffolk. Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCIL

West Suffolk Council has launched a public consultation with taxi drivers and residents for their views on proposals that would see the same policies applying to the trade across the district.

The move is part of an on-going process to align taxi policies of the former St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath councils that began in 2017, ahead of the creation of the new West Suffolk Council in April 2019.

A council spokesman said: "Since 2017 we have been gradually aligning the policies of the two former authorities that came together to form the new West Suffolk Council.

"This is the last stage and we are looking for the views of the taxi trade, businesses and the public on proposals for completing that alignment and on updating best practice. We hope as many people as possible will take part."

The council wants to increase the time that must elapse for a conviction for violence from three years to seven, five years for racially aggravated and/or sexual offences, and remove the allowance for any applicants with a conviction for driving offences involving loss of life to be considered before seven years has lapsed. Currently it is three years.

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It wants to add a new maximum age requirement of 10 years to all vehicles, except electric/zero emission vehicles, and wants views on whether or not to adopt a livery of silver or white vehicles for private hire.

All black cabs could have a coloured bonnet and boot. Yellow is the council's preferred choice, as per Hackney taxis in the former Forest Heath area, but suggestions for other colours are being invited.

Hackney carriages would also be able to operate under a single licensing area for the whole district, allowing drivers to ply for hire and pick up from any rank anywhere.

The two current licensing zones, A and B, reflect the former district and borough council areas.

Alignment of taxi services has been taken in stages to allow customers and the taxi trade to adjust to the changes.

Fares were aligned in June 2018."

The consultation began on Monday January 27 and runs until Sunday March 8. Views can be given on the council website.

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