The Licensing Team understands that these are extremely challenging times for the hackney carriage and private hire trade. The following information is intended to answer some of the frequently asked questions in light of the Coronavirus outbreak.
How do I contact the Licensing Team during this period?
Officers within the Licensing Team are following government and Council advice relating to the Coronavirus in terms of working arrangements, social-distancing and, where appropriate, self-isolation.
We will not be meeting face-to-face with any applicants or licence holders and therefore all applicants and licence holders are asked to make any enquiries via email to [email protected].
Will the Council be automatically extending my licence?
The council cannot automatically extend the period of a licence beyond any statutory timeframes. Driver and vehicle licences therefore still need to be renewed prior to the expiry date in every instance.
How do I apply to renew my licence?
Renewal applications must be made electronically during this period. You should attach scans or photographs of any relevant documents and email them to: [email protected]
Can I continue to work even if my renewed licence has not been issued?
Yes. Provided the relevant applications have been duly made before the relevant expiry date, you may continue to operate (even if you are not in possession of the renewed licence).
How do I pay for an application?
Any payments will need to be made online here (select ‘Licensing’ and provide the relevant licence details). Alternatively, you can call 01609 779977 but please be aware that there may be some delays, depending on staff availability.
Will there be a discount on the licence fee?
Licence fees are calculated on a cost-recovery basis and therefore cannot be influenced by the earnings of the trade. However, the Council has decided to freeze its hackney carriage and private hire licensing fees for a fourth successive year in order to ease the burden on new and existing licence holders.
What support is available to assist with any financial losses?
The government has made a number of assurances in terms of financial support to businesses and individuals affected by the outbreak. Further information in this regard can be found here.
Should drivers and passengers use face coverings?
Face coverings are compulsory for passengers using public transport in England (including taxis and private hire vehicles). Taxi and PHV drivers are entitled to deny customers access to their vehicle if they refuse to wear a face covering without a legitimate reason. Drivers are also advised to wear a face covering but they are under no obligation to do so. The Department for Transport (DfT) has published some guidance in relation to safer travel, which includes details of the exemptions from the requirement to wear a face covering. The DfT's guidance can be found here.
I do not intend to work during this period. Can I cancel my insurance to save money?
If you are not using the vehicle, you may decide to cancel your insurance (or amend it to remove private and public hire purposes from the cover). You should contact your insurers directly before making any decisions in this regard to ensure that you are aware of any legal and financial implications. Please bear in mind that it is an offence to drive a vehicle without the appropriate insurance cover.
If you do cancel your insurance policy (or temporarily remove private/public hire from the cover), you must inform the Council immediately via [email protected] and your licence will be suspended until you are ready to resume work. The suspension will be lifted when you provide an insurance certificate with the appropriate cover.
The government has extended the due dates of all MOTs by six months. Does this apply to my licensed vehicle?
Yes. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has indicated that MOT due dates will be automatically extended by six months (for cars with an MOT due date after 30 March 2020). The Council has decided to apply the same extensions in respect of licensed vehicles and therefore MOTs will not be required until the revised due date.
Where can I find more information relating to Covid-19 and social-distancing?
The latest information and advice on the Coronavirus can be found here.
We sincerely hope that all drivers, proprietors and operators stay safe during this difficult time.