Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Licences

The authority is required to issue licences and set conditions on hackney carriages and private hire vehicles to ensure the vehicles used are safe and comfortable and that the drivers are fit and proper persons, medically fit, knowledgeable and free from relevant convictions.

Hackney carriages can be hailed at the roadside. They have a ‘Taxi’ or ‘Tacsi’ roof sign, a licence plate displayed on the rear of the vehicle and door stickers on either side. The plate and stickers are yellow. The vehicles are black.

Private hire vehicles cannot be hailed at the roadside. All private hire vehicles must be pre-booked. There is no light on its roof and green licence plates and stickers are displayed on the vehicle. If a private hire vehicle stops when hailed it is likely that persons travelling would not be insured.

Proposed changes to Hackney Carriage Fares

Proposals to change the table of fares relating to Hackney Carriages in the County Borough of Torfaen are being consulted on between 1 and 14 November 2018.  Objections should be made in writing during this period.  Further information can be seen on the notice, which will be published in the local press.  It will also be displayed at Pontypool Civic Centre, and Ty Blaen Torfaen in New Inn.

Child Sexual Exploitation - Know the signs

To help keep children safe Heddlu Gwent Police are again urging members of the public to be vigilant about this kind of criminality, and to contact them by dialling 101 or 999 in an emergency with any information they may have. To help members of the public recognise the signs of exploitation and abuse Gwent Police have published a web page.

The Police would rather hear from concerned members of the public who report issues which turn out not to be Child sexual exploitation (CSE), than not be called at all.

Policy on the Administration and Regulation of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licences

The Licensing Committee approved a revised “Policy on the Administration and Regulation of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licences” which came into effect on the 1st October 2015.

Changes made were due to changes in legislation which increase the length of driver and operator licences and allow private hire sub contracting.  

The policy also strengthened the councils position on protection of vulnerable people following several high profile enquiries into child sexual exploitation and introduced required training for all drivers and operators.  The policy is available to download.

Along with the changes in licence duration the fees for licences were reviewed and approved, taking effect from the 1st October 2015.  

Changes to Policy relating to Fire Extinguishers in vehicles

On the 30th April 2015 the Licensing Committee approved the removal of the condition for licensed vehicles to carry fire extinguishers,  it will no longer form part of any test or inspection of the vehicles.

This does not mean that you cannot carry an extinguisher if you wish,  but if you do it has to be tested and inspected to be safe.  It is preferable not to carry one at all rather than one that is not tested.

The reasoning behind this decision can be seen by viewing the Licensing Committee Report

Office Opening Hours

The opening hours for personal callers to the office at New Inn for the licensing team are Monday to Friday between 9:00 am and 12:00 midday. Where this causes difficulties, in exceptional circumstances, an appointment can be made to visit outside of these hours. Please contact the office to arrange this. We are available on the telephone (01633 647284) between 9:00 am and 4:30 pm.

Keeping records of complaints and other issues that are reported by your customers

The Council’s policy is very clear on what records an operator has to keep with regards to complaints.  Please consult the relevant section of the council’s policy - this must be complied with.

We accept that our policy is less clear on keeping records of lost/found property, however it should be a matter of common sense to protect yourselves; ie if a customer reports the loss of some property or property is found, that a record is made of the loss/find to protect you from future allegations that either licensing officers or the police may be required to investigate.

It is recommended that whenever a customer either:-

  • Makes any form of complaint against a driver or any person that the company employs
  • Reports any incident with a licensed vehicle, driver or operator
  • Reports any loss or damage to their property
  • Makes a special request, e.g. not to have named drivers.

That these matters must be recorded and investigated by the operator in compliance with the council’s policy.

It is also important that anyone working on your reception areas are made aware of this requirement and are given adequate training to comply 

Officers operate a proactive inspection programme of all operators licensed in Torfaen to ensure that these provisions are being complied with.

Criminal Record Checks

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) are now known as the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).   

From the 17th June 2013 the DBS changed the way that they deal with checks for employees and licence holders, which affects the way that your DBS checks will be administered by the council.  The main change is that the employer/council will no longer receive a copy of the disclosure certificate,  the DBS will only send a certificate to the person subject of the check.

More information about changes to Criminal Record Checks can be found here.

Electronic Cigarettes

We are often asked about the use of electronic cigarettes in relevant premises, and licensed vehicles.  The advice/information we are currently giving is that:

  • Whilst they are not illegal it would be hard to prove that they are not a real cigarette if seen by an enforcement officer passing by
  • That it does not send the correct message to the customers and could lead to abuse of the legislation
  • JD Wetherspoons pubs have decided to implement an internal policy to prevent their use on their premises

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide information here when necessary.

Fares

The current schedule of  Hackney Carriage Fares is available to download. If you have any questions or complaints about fares, please contact us.

The Equalities Act

The Equalities Act 2010  introduced regulations that all taxi and private hire drivers have to comply with.

The duties being placed on the drivers of designated wheelchair accessible taxis and private hire vehicles are:

  • to carry the passenger while in a wheelchair
  • not to make any additional charge for doing so
  • if the passenger chooses to sit in a passenger seat, to carry the wheelchair
  • to take such steps as are necessary to ensure that the passenger is carried in safety and reasonable comfort
  • to give the passenger such mobility assistance as is reasonably required

A copy of The Equality Act 2010 can be viewed here.

 

Please Note - Torfaen County Borough Council (The Council) is under a duty to protect the public funds which it administers and to this end may use the information you provide within Torfaen County Borough Council for the prevention and detection of fraud. The Council may also share this information with other bodies administering or in receipt of public funds solely for these purposes. For further information, visit the National Fraud Initiative area of the website. 

Last Modified: 05/12/2018
For more information contact:

Licensing Team

Tel: 01633 647286

Email: licensing@torfaen.gov.uk

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