Concern over taxi licensing changes

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PROPOSALS to improve taxi services in the district have been met with a mixed response from the drivers.

East Lindsey District Council announced plans to review its taxi licensing policies in the hope that it would improve the service to local people back in October.

The council asked taxi drivers for their views on the proposal which included a requirement for taxi drivers to offer a good standard of disabled access, including successfully undergoing a wheelchair-loading test before driving a wheelchair accessible taxi or private hire vehicle.

It is also recommended that a penalty points system for taxi drivers is introduced to encourage drivers to comply with legislative requirements and licence conditions. Drivers totting up 12 points would have their licence called in for review by the council’s licensing committee.

The proposals also include a code of good conduct for drivers and proprietors.

However, the chairman for the Skegness Taxi Drivers’ Association, Darrell Blackburn, highlighted several aspects of the proposals that he had been told drivers were unhappy about.

Mr Blackburn addressed the councillors at the Business and Resources Committee of Skegness Town Council last Wednesday, November 9.

He said: “Some of the proposals are good and some are not so good.”

And he went on to say that he had issues with the penalty point suggestion, and said he was ‘confused about this item’ after telling the council that a driver could pick up points for refusing to take someone.

The drivers also held concerns about needing to use newer vehicles with less miles on the clock, installing an additional ‘for hire’ sign and for not being able park on double yellow lines.

Mr Blackburn pointed out that three points could be given and said: “Who pays for it? Does the customer?”

Coun Mark Anderson thought that taxis would still have to park on double yellow lines to pick up the vulnerable and disabled.

The review is a regular practice and the district council said it needs feedback from taxi drivers in this area to be able make the best decisions about whether to implement the changes.

The consultation closes on Friday, December 2.