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 Fiat Scudo attended the hearing and was accompanied by a friend. The report presented by the Licensing Unit Manager explained that the vehicle in question, had been licensed by Bury Council since 30 August 2012 and on 26 February 2016, was transferred into the Licence Holder’s name. The vehicle licence expired on 24 February 2019.
On 15 August 2018, the vehicle was scheduled for a routine 6 month interim test at the Council’s test Centre at Bradley Fold but the vehicle was not presented for test so the vehicle licence was suspended.
On 22 August 2018, the vehicle underwent a routine 6 month interim test at the Council’s test Centre at Bradley Fold and failed the test with 9 faults, 5 of which were MOT faults.
On 24 August 2018, the vehicle was presented for retest. The vehicle still had 2 MOT faults.
On 30 August 2018, the vehicle was presented for a second retest, the vehicle still had 1 MOT fault as the rear brakes were out of balance.
On 4 September 2018, the vehicle was represented for a third retest which the vehicle passed.
On 11 February 2019, the licence holder made an application to renew this vehicle licence prior to its expiry on 24 February 2019. The Licensing Service requested the vehicle undertake the usual renewal test on 27 February 2019, where the vehicle was found to have 8 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 Council Policy of vehicles over 10 years of age being subject to the 5 fault rule.
The Licence Holder and his friend addressed the Panel and stated that it had cost £800 to get the vehicle through the tests and that although drivers try to keep their vehicles maintained, the public are often drunk and don’t care about them and abuse the vehicles. The Licence Holder stated that there was very little work on the Bury ranks with so many Hackney Carriage vehicles. He further stated that the issues relating to the faults, were not big issues and wouldn’t be dangerous to passengers and that he had taken the vehicle to a garage before being tested and had been told it was ok. The Licence Holder also stated that he had a family to provide for financially and a mortgage to pay.
The Panel carefully considered the report including the information and results in relation to the testing of the vehicle and the oral representations and resolved on a majority basis to refuse the renewal application.
The Panel found as follows;
1. That the vehicle had failed on 9 faults in August 2018, 5 being MOT faults.
2. That the vehicle, had been driven over 264,000 miles.
3. That this was a very serious matter as public safety was paramount.
4. The vehicle failed a further 2 renewal retests with faults including 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