On Tuesday (24th October), BCBC’s Licensing Committee is due to discuss changes to their policies regarding vehicle testing and age of licenced taxis in the county.
At the moment, taxis and other licensed hire vehicles are exempt from needing an MOT certificate because vehicle testing regimes are run by local authorities. BCBC also requires taxis to be new when they receive their first licence.
BCBC carry out in-house testing at their Fleet Services facility at Brackla Industrial Estate. The test is nearly identical to the MOT test but includes taxi-specific tests such as ensuring meters work correctly.
Officers are proposing changes (below) to both the vehicle testing regime (pdf) and age requirements for taxis (pdf) which will at least partly bring them into line with the Vale of Glamorgan, which shares regulatory services with Bridgend.
- Taxis and other licensed private hire vehicles will be required to undergo a full MOT test as well as an enhanced test specifically designed for taxis. They’ll no longer receive an MOT exemption certificate.
- Vehicles up to 10 years old (currently 5 years old) will be tested twice a year. Vehicles older than 10 years will need to be tested three times a year.
- Vehicles aged 5 years or under can be issued with a first licence (at present all taxis have to be brand new to get their first licence), while vehicles which have a wheelchair-accessible lift can be up to 10 years old before being issued with their first license.
Officers believe the proposals will benefit taxi drivers, the licensing department and the public.
- As taxis will no longer be MOT exempt, complaints about the condition of vehicles can be made to the DVSA.
- MOT results will be published online, making them more accessible to the licensing department as a digital record.
- Licensed vehicles are less likely to be stopped by the police to check their MOT exemption certificate.
- Drivers of mid-age taxis (5-10 years old) won’t have to pay for tests as regularly as they do now.
- Prospective drivers will no longer have to buy a brand new vehicle to get their first taxi license and they’ll also be able to purchase a higher quality (older) vehicle with their available budgets.
- Changes to age requirements could increase the number of wheelchair-accessible taxis on the road.
If the Licensing Committee agree, a public consultation is likely to be launched in due course.