Council keeping taxi standards high

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Council chiefs in St Helens has created a new licensing policy for the borough’s taxis to ensure the industry continues to meet high standards.

The local authority has been working in partnership with the licensed vehicle trade since early 2015 to develop the taxi industry while protecting the public.

The council says many visitors to St Helens take taxis and it wants them to have a positive first impression of the town and has therefore drawn up the new policy to set clear boundaries on what is expected of taxi licence holders.

Coun Dave Banks, chairman of the licensing and environmental protection committee at St Helens Council, said: “Taxis are usually the first contact many visitors have with an area and as such it is essential that standards are high so that those accessing the service can be confident of the quality of that service.

“As a borough which has recently placed regeneration at its forefront, it is essential that those who can play a part in developing a positive imageof St Helens do this effectively.”

St Helens Council will continue talking to the industry about aspects of its plans which need further consultation.

These include a proposed three-test system for vehicle standards, a policy requiring all drivers to take DVSA tests and clarity over the use of trailers.

However, the council says the new policy reflects the important role hackney cabs and private hire vehicles have in the area’s transport system.

Coun Seve Gomez-Aspron, cabinet member for green, smart and sustainable borough and a member of the licensing committee, said: “We have viewed the production of this policy as a method to engage the licensed vehicle trade in proactive and productive discussions, not just around the policy but as to how we may begin to further grow this important sector within the borough.

“Going forward we’ll be looking to further develop the policy, adding provision for electric cars and looking at new ways of operating.

“Reaction from the trade overall has been extremely positive, with thanks and comments noted by members of the licensing committee on what continues to be a positive and effective working relationship.”