Cabinet to discuss policy on private hire executive vehicles
Shropshire Council’s Cabinet will this week (Wednesday 2 May 2012) consider changes to the policy on executive private hire vehicles which aim to add clarity, protect the safety of passengers and take on board the views of people in the industry.
The changes have been proposed to help ensure that the definition of executive is as clear as possible, the signage for these vehicles fits with businesses’ overall executive work, and the public can be reassured that the vehicles are regulated.
Private hire vehicles, with the exception of executive style vehicles, are required to display an identifying plate and have council-issued signage on the side of the vehicle. Executive vehicles are required to display a discreet executive plate.
Shropshire Council’s Strategic Licensing Committee, on 21 March 2012, discussed the sections of the private hire policy on executive vehicles in response to operators asking for these to be reviewed. In recent months four operators have made requests to display the discreet executive plate and no other signage, but have been unable to because the committee did not consider that the vehicles were of an executive style.
The committee listened to operators’ views that it would be beneficial to their businesses if there was further clarification and agreed to consult on proposed changes for two weeks from 2 April 2012.
The proposed new policy moves the focus from the type of vehicle to the way the business operates. It includes a new definition for vehicles offering an executive service, which would be permitted to display an executive hire plate, as those providing “business to business contracts and/or other special journeys requested by companies or private clients where they specifically request a prestige service at the time of booking and are not used for traditional local private hire work”.
To qualify for an executive plate, operators would be expected to produce six months of booking records to show that the work undertaken fulfils the new criteria.
New businesses, that can reasonably show through their service objectives and marketing activities that they intend to operate solely as an executive hire service, would be given an executive plate for six months but would then be required to provide the required proof by submitting booking information.
Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for licensing, said:
“During consultation we asked people for their views on whether they felt that the proposed changes were the best way forward in ensuring we both protect the public and encourage a vibrant executive private hire industry in Shropshire.
“The proposal still requires a plate to be displayed, which is important for public safety but also puts forward changes to support these businesses.
“We always advise people to stay safe by checking if a taxi or private hire vehicle is licensed before getting in. We ask people to look out for the Shropshire Council licence plate on the vehicle, or the driver’s identity badge. Licensed vehicles are regularly tested, must meet minimum standards, and will have appropriate insurance cover.
“In response to comments received during consultation, further changes have been proposed to the policy, and Cabinet will be asked to agree this wording to make it clearer for everyone and strike the best balance for businesses and passengers.”