A report by the Assistant Director (Legal and Democratic Services) is attached.
The Licensing Unit Manager presented a report submitted by the Assistant Director (Legal and Democratic Services), regarding the review of the five fault criteria in respect of a Hackney Carriage vehicle licence.
The report explained that prior to February 2006, Hackney Carriage vehicles over 10 years old were not licensed by Bury Council unless the vehicle was in ‘exceptional condition’. On 2 February 2006, following a request from the Hackney Carriage Association, the Licensing and Safety Panel reviewed the ‘exceptional condition’ criteria and resolved to allow vehicles to be licensed beyond 10 years of age subject to the vehicle passing requisite inspections with no more than 5 faults being identified (‘the 5 fault rule’).
This Policy has been reviewed since the above date and on 8 May 2014 the Licensing and Safety Panel considered a report relating to the review of current Policies relating to the Licensing and testing of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicles. Members resolved that the ‘exceptional condition’ criteria be re-introduced for Hackney Carriages at 10 years old as an incentive to encourage proactive maintenance and provide for additional testing requirements where vehicles fall below acceptable standards.
In addition, existing licence holders be allowed a 3 year transitional period should they have made financial plans in respect of their vehicle to allow them to be licensed subject to the 5 fault rule.
On 27 July 2017, the Licensing and Safety Panel considered a report following a request from the Hackney Carriage Association represented by Mr Giles Bridge, requesting the Council consider a 15 year age Policy and
review whether the five fault rule or the ‘exceptional condition’ criteria should apply to all Hackney Carriage vehicles over 10 years of age.
Members resolved unanimously that approval be given to continue with the current licensing and testing policy in relation to Hackney Carriage vehicles up to 10 years of age and then require the vehicle to be subject to the 5 fault rule.
The Licence Holder of a Peugeot Expert, attended the meeting and was represented by Mr Oakes, of the Hackney Drivers’ Association. The report presented by the Licensing Unit Manager explained that on 19 May 2014, the vehicle in question, was transferred into the Licence Holder’s name who is a licensed Hackney Carriage driver. The current vehicle licence is due to expire on 21 March 2019.
On 17 September 2018, the vehicle underwent a routine 6 month interim test at the Council’s test centre at Bradley Fold and failed the test with 11 faults, 7 of which were MOT faults.
On 6 February 2019, the Licence Holder made an application to renew the vehicle licence in respect of this vehicle prior to its expiry on 21 March 2019. The Licensing Service requested that the vehicle undertake the usual renewal test on 18 February 2019, when the vehicle was found to have 3 faults, 2 of which were MOT faults.
The Licensing Unit Manager explained it is for the Licence Holder to present a case as to whether the Licensing and Safety Panel should deviate from the current 5 fault rule Council Policy applicable to vehicles over 10 years.
Mr Oakes addressed the Panel and explained that when the vehicle failed the interim 6 month test in September 2018, the Licence Holder was not suspended at that time and the vehicle was repaired, however, following the test on 18 February 2019 the Licence Holder is unable to renew the vehicle licence as it failed on 3 faults. Mr Oakes stated that there was no mechanism in place to appeal this judgement at the Magistrates’ Court, which was unlawful. The Licence Holder has been a taxi driver for 10 years, he is a qualified engineer and well educated and this is an isolated incident.
Mr Oakes requested that the licence holder be allowed to continue with this vehicle, which will be well maintained, with the undertaking within the next 12 months the vehicle will be replaced.
The Panel carefully considered the report including the information and results in relation to the testing of the vehicle and the oral representations made and resolved on a majority basis to refuse the renewal application.
The Panel found as follows;
1. That the vehicle had failed on 11 faults in September 2018, 7 being MOT faults.
2. That the vehicle, had been driven 351,562 miles.
3. That this was a very serious matter as public safety was paramount.
4. The vehicle failed its renewal test due to faults including 2 MOT faults.
5. That there were no facts presented upon which the Licensing and Safety Panel could justify deviating from the current 5 fault rule Council Policy for vehicles over 10 years.
The licence holder was informed of their right to appeal within 21 days.