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Decision details

Review and Update of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy

Decision Maker: Licensing Committee

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


To consider proposals for the amendment of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy.


The Committee received a report from the Environmental Health Manager.


The report advised under the powers conferred to Cambridge City Council under the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 and the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, (as amended), Cambridge City Council has responsibility for licensing Hackney Carriage, Private Hire and Dual Licence Drivers as well as vehicle proprietors and Private Hire Operators within the City.


The Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing policy (the ‘policy’) was produced in order to provide the Council, its officers, the trade and the public with appropriate guidelines that put the Council’s licensing requirements into practice in a clear and transparent manner. In exercising its discretion in carrying out its regulatory functions, the Council shall have regard to the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing policy document.


The policy was last updated in July 2018, following a review and consultation with the trade and members of the public.


Since the policy has come into effect, the Licensing Authority has committed to amending its formal data sharing arrangements in relation to revoked and refused drivers, via the new NR3 National Anti-Fraud Network.


There has additionally been a request from the trade to require all

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicles to carry a card payment method and accept debit/credit card payments.


It was proposed to renumber the Section entitled ‘Part 5: Enforcement’ in the Index, to reflect previous changes to sections within the main document.


Permission was sought from members to go out to consult on the proposed changes to the policy.


The Committee received a representation from Mr Vines, Cambridge Licensed Taxis.


The representation covered the following issues:

  i.  Welcomed the report.

  ii.  Wanted credit card machines in vehicles, and stickers on display to show that card payments could be taken.

  iii.  Cambridge Licensed Taxi vehicles took card payments already, some other organisations did not, which confused customers.

  iv.  Customers would have the option to pay by card or cash.


The Committee then debated the Officer’s report.


The Committee made the following comments in response to the report:

  i.  Reducing the amount of cash in taxis would increase drivers’ safety.

  ii.  Welcomed card payment facilities. These reflected the trend towards a cashless society. Customers used a variety of technology to pay such as their mobile phones. Electronic payments avoided payment disputes as there was a clear audit trail unlike handing over cash.


In response to Members’ questions Mr Vines said the following:

  i.  Drivers could still be given tips by passengers. The amount could be added to journey payments and would go to drivers. They would not lose out through machine service charges. The trade would absorb card service costs and not pass them onto customers.


Councillor Pippas said it was illegal for service suppliers to pass on credit card surcharges to customers. Customers would pay the amount on the meter.


  ii.  Customers could make payments within 30 seconds through a variety of methods such as contactless, signature or chip and pin.


In response to Members’ questions the Environmental Health Manager said she was unaware of other local authorities introducing a similar (voluntary) scheme. Certainly not ones neighbouring Cambridge. She would check this.


The Committee:

Resolved (unanimously) to approve that officers go out to consult on the proposed changes to the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy, using the form within Appendix C of the Officer’s report. The results of the consultation would then be presented at the next full meeting of the Licensing Committee in July 2019.

Report author: Karen O'Connor

Publication date: 07/02/2019

Date of decision: 28/01/2019

Decided at meeting: 28/01/2019 - Licensing Committee

Accompanying Documents: