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Taxi News Feed

Keep up to date with the latest Licensing news and information.

Hackney Carriage vehicles will still be available to take you to and from the supermarkets and to any appointments that you have booked.

To book a Hackney Carriage, please use the following contact numbers:

01744 608844 - C&R Travel

01744 778277 - Taxi Call

01744 644644 - Halo Taxis

01744 22222 - A1 Taxis

07930 251689 - Wilshaw Travel

 

 

Last updated on 16 April 2020

How Licensing will work during the coronavirus pandemic

Contact Licensing

To contact Licensing via the phone while our office is closed, please call 01744 676770.

Alternatively, you can contact us via email: Taxi Licensing email or General Licensing email.

Please be aware the phones will be busy and we would advise you to email us.

This is because our telephone lines are very busy and we can respond to you much faster by email. Please note that we aim to answer your email on the same working day or the next available working day.

Operational Hours

From Monday 30 March 2020, our operational hours are 9am to 5pm. Please use our general licensing and taxi licensing emails first as we don't have as many phone lines as usual.

We can answer your queries much faster on email.

Don't forget to let us know about any problems you may be experiencing and we'll do our best to help.

Taxi Information

How to Access Help and Support

Information for those who are self-employed

Understanding how to claim Universal Credit

Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

Financial Support for Businesses

Guidance on social distancing

Public Information

All our licensed drivers are self employed and the operators are small businesses. Please support them in any way you can during this crisis.  Our drivers are still out working and are taking the government advice into account while operating including cleaning the interior of the vehicle and safe distancing on the number of passengers they carry. They can help you collect prescription medication, food collection pick ups, take you to a medical appointment, etc. They are ready and waiting to support you.

Hackney Carriage Ranks

List of our current Hackney Carriage ranks.

Please note that social distancing measures have been applied to the Hall Street and Ormskirk Street ranks, which are our busiest. Please queue in an orderly manner and observe the social distancing measures by keeping two metres apart.

To book a Hackney Carriage, please use the following contact numbers:

01744 608844 - C&R Travel

01744 778277 - Taxi Call

01744 644644 - Halo Taxis

01744 22222 - A1 Taxis

07930 251689 - Wilshaw Travel

All of our Hackney Carriages are wheelchair friendly and our drivers are trained to assist you.

Hackney Carriages are working in a different climate they may not be in the places you would usually find them. They may be stopping along the general road side but if the 'for hire' light is on, on the top of the vehicle they are available for hire.

Operator Bases

If you still have bases open, you should be following government guidance on social distancing. It is also advisable that all your surfaces are wiped down using anti-bacterial spray regularly throughout the day.

The following operators are still available for hire:

A to B Delta - 01744 451451 (Discounts available for NHS and key workers)

Britannia Cars - 01744 20022 (Discounts available for NHS and key workers)

Cable Cars - 01744 609060 (Discounts available for NHS and key workers)

Critchleys Cars - 01744 819999

Clear Executive Travel - 01925 321666

Uber - 'Tap the App'

Delta Merseyside - 'Tap the App'

Receipt of Jobs

As its important that the drivers are protected as much as is possible during this crisis we recommend the following:

  • Before any booking is taken, check if any members of the household are self-isolating due to coronavirus being present in the home. If they are, as these people should not be leaving their homes then you are not expected to accept these jobs.
  • You may wish to limit the number of passengers and not allow any passenger to sit in the front seat.
  • Operators should make their drivers aware that you are checking the locations of jobs for the coronavirus, before they are added to systems.
  • No drivers are required to put themselves into situations which they feel would be harmful to them.
  • Vehicle cleanliness is also important. It is crucial that drivers are given advice to wipe down with anti-bacterial spray the interiors of their vehicle as often as possible, or at least after they have completed a shift. You will be aware that the virus can live on surfaces for long periods of time so this is important in keeping everyone safe.
  • If you operate a service which allows patrons to pay online or by card, this should be used in the first instance to limit the exposure to cash changing hands.
  • Drivers are allowed to wear gloves if they feel this is necessary. Please be aware that if you use disposable gloves then these should be changed and disposed of regularly.

You will be aware that we have already approved the use of face masks for drivers during this period.

PHV Screens

We have been contacted by several drivers and Cab and Co about the use of a 'COVID protector screen' that they wish to offer to be installed in PHV vehicles.

The licensing authority have not approved this and, at this time, none of the Liverpool City Region or Cheshire authorities have.

The main concerns are:

  • the integrity of the vehicle
  • the lack of a specification for each specific model of vehicle
  • no manufacturer approval
  • potential compromise of insurance
  • increase of surface area for the virus to live on
  • safeguarding issues due to lack of visibility

We are aware that some operators from across the region have already installed such features. While we are sympathetic to the need, these are not approved and do not form part of existing conditions. Should the current safety concerns be addressed then this may be reconsidered.

Business/Self-employed Support

We are updating our taxi and business news feeds regularly with information on how to access grants and support for small business along with information on how to access self employment support. If you need any help with this or would like further information, then please email us and we will sort this for you.

Media Articles

Our media team are working regularly on articles both in the press and on social media around businesses that are still working or going above and beyond. We'd like to share some stories of what you have been doing to help generate some extra PR for you, so again please send these through to our email. With every post we make we are linking the page from the website displaying your operator numbers and those of the hackney trade to help support your business.

Discounts

We've noticed that some of you are offering discounts for NHS and/or keyworkers. We are about to launch a promotion around this so, to be sure we don't miss anyone out, can you email us if you are offering this new service. This applies to Private Hire Operators and Hackney Carriages.

Vulnerable Community Members

No doubt you are seeing first hand some of the most vulnerable members of society and as a council we are trying to support them as much as possible, if you could pass on the information. There is help available but we need to know where they are to get this to them.

Changes to taxi licensing for existing licensed drivers, operators and vehicle proprietors

Taxi medicals

We are aware that GPs are not operating normal medical services during the coronavirus pandemic. If you are an existing licensed hackney carriage/private hire driver with us and are due a medical, please contact us urgently, if you have not already done so. 

In the event that existing drivers are unable to obtain a medical, provision is in place to permit you to continue to work providing that (a) you have a previous 'clear' medical history, and (b) you will be required to sign a declaration which confirms that you have no newly diagnosed medical conditions which could affect your ability to drive. These licences will be approved for a period of 12 months. 

DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) checks

The DBS service is operating as normal. If you are due for this check, please contact us as soon as possible so that we are able to organise this for you. During this pandemic, the DBS service have confirmed we are able to accept a scan of your documents, which you can send via email. This will limit the need for face to face appointments. 

We will post out the DBS application so that you are able to complete this and return it to us via the post box outside Wesley House reception. You may also post these back to us at our usual address.

Licence renewals

We are no longer carrying out face-to-face appointments as the council has decided to close its main reception areas. This means that licence renewals will be conducted by email or post.

We have also advised Merseyside Police as it is likely that some licensed vehicles will be displaying out-of-date plates for a period of time. You will not be penalised for this as long as you have the licence documents we have provided to you electronically or by post. All driver and operator licences are currently being renewed for a maximum of 12 months.

Covering the mouth and nose while driving

Permission has now been given so that drivers, operators or base staff who come into contact with the public can, if they wish, either wear a mask or a scarf during the coronavirus pandemic. The eyes should always remain uncovered and you should continue to wear your driver badge.

Taxi compliance tests

Our garage at Hardshaw Brook Depot has been designated for Council fleet vehicles only (Please do no attend any pre-booked compliance tests after 24th March 2020).

We are now accepting a standard MOT certificate from approved suppliers in order that you can continue to work/operate.

Please note that vehicle licences will only be issued for a maximum period of six months if you provide us with a standard MOT certificate.

For those who have tests booked for anytime after 24th March 2020 test fees will be refunded in approximately 5 working days.

New and renewal vehicle applications

New and renewal vehicle applications will be required to send all vehicle renewals to our email (insurance, completed application form, etc). We will then return your licences to you by email. 

We will no longer issue physical plates during the coronavirus pandemic after Friday 20 March 2020. During this period, you will maintain the same vehicle licence number so that if the plate you are displaying has expired, the licence number trail will remain unchanged.

For those bringing new vehicles to licence, you will not be provided with a physical plate to display. You must have your licence information with you in your vehicle so that you can show this to a police or authorised officer, should you be stopped.

Contingency plans

We have further contingency plans in place should they be required, so there is no need to be concerned with regard to licence renewals.

New hackney carriage/private hire driver applications

As of Monday 6 April 2020 we will accept new hackney carriage/ private hire driver applications as long as you're able to obtain a Group 2 Medical certificate from your GP or a GP that has access to your medical records.

As part of our ongoing work with Liverpool City Region to align some licensing conditions and policy, on 26 February 2020, the Licensing and Environmental Protection Committee approved a consultation period into revised driver and vehicle conditions.

This report detailed revised conditions to the current conditions for licensed Drivers, Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Vehicles.

The committee resolved to carry out a four-week consultation into the proposed changes with the licensed trade, following which all responses will be reported back to the committee before a decision about implementation is made.

The consultation period on these revised conditions will continue until Friday 3 April 2020.

Please send all responses to the Licensing Team, Wesley House, Corporation Street, St Helens or email your responses.

Driver Conditions

Private Hire Vehicle Conditions

Hackney Carriage Vehicle Conditions

Compliance Tests

Thank you for your patience over the last few weeks with the issues experienced at the testing centre. These are now resolved and a back-up plan is now in place should any issue occur again. No further tests will be carried out in Knowsley.

Plate Collections

We are trialling some new times and days for collection of plates as the time we currently have allocated to this is under-used. Afternoon collections are currently being tested but if this causes you any difficulties then please let us know. During this test period, no drivers will be left in a position where they are unable to obtain plates to allow them to continue working.

Telephone Enquiries

Over the coming weeks we will also be trialling new systems with telephone enquiries. In the near future we will be introducing the function of web chats, which will create a further way for you to contact us. We are studying the number and type of calls we receive and looking at how these can be managed so, to assist us with this, from Monday 29 July our phone lines will be available for the following times: Monday to Friday 10.00-12.00 and 14.00-16.00.

You can of course email us at any time with questions or requests. We aim to respond to these within 24 hours. During the times when you cannot reach us by telephone, you will receive a recorded message to remind you that you can email us with your request.

Online DBS Service

The DBS operate an online subscription service, which costs £13 per year to keep updated. You must first apply for a DBS certificate with us or just have been issued with one. Once you are enrolled to the online service, you will no longer be required to return periodically to us for DBS checks as at your initial appointment we will ask you to sign a form to give us access to your record to check your information status. This system will work out as a much cheaper option.

The Government are intending to introduce Statutory Guidance for Taxi Licensing over the next few months, which will require licensing authorities to carry out six-monthly DBS checks. We have no set date to introduce this but it will be easier and more beneficial to you financially if you sign up for the online service as soon as possible. 

The Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) offer the facility to update your DBS online for a fee of £13 a year. Sign up to the service here.

You will need to have your original certificate to hand and will need to register within 19 days from the date that the certificate was printed.

By signing up to the service, it will allow us to process your renewal application faster as we will not need to wait for your DBS certificate to be posted back to you.

You will need to keep your original DBS certificate and produce this to us every time your DBS check is due. 

You are encouraged to use this facility as it is not only more cost-effective but also a much quicker process for your renewal.

At the meeting of the Licensing and Environmental Protection Committee on 12 December 2018, members agreed to the following amendments to the Taxi Licensing Policy with immediate effect:

Tinted Windows on Licensed Vehicles

Adoption of the DVLA standard for window tint on vehicles, which is: on motor vehicles first used on or after 1 April 1985, the light transmitted through the windscreen must be at least 75%. The front side windows or the 'A-Pillar' for the driver must allow at least 70% of light to be transmitted through them. There are no rules governing the tinting of passenger or rear windows.

The only exceptions to this are the 'manufacturer's standard'. This is when a vehicle comes off the production line with the tint already installed. There are a number of these vehicles now available, particularly of the people carrier type. The tint cannot be modified in any way and the vehicle proprietor has to provide certificated proof that the vehicle was produced in that manner. If this can be achieved, then these vehicles will also licensed.

Operator Door Signage

St.Helens Licensing Authority will now allow the use of magnetic door signage for operators. This is optional as you may retain the adhesive signage but magnetic is now permitted. Licensed drivers may now also remove the door signage from the licensed vehicle if the vehicle is 'not working'. Plates and window signage must remain in place at all times. The door signage must be reinstated before the licensed vehicle and driver undertake any work.

First Aid Kit and Fire Extinguisher

This is now removed as a mandatory condition from vehicle policy.

Update on training availability:

13 November 2019 at 12.45pm

18 December 2019 at 12.45pm

22 January 2020 at 12.45pm

Email taxilicensing@sthelens.gov.uk to book your training or phone 01744 675822.

Mandatory Safeguarding Training for Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Drivers and Private Hire Operators.

Ravenhead Road is classed as a 'BOAT' – see definition below.

Driving on byways

Driving on a byway may be tough going for some vehicles but it is not 'off road'. Anyone driving on a byway must comply with the Road Traffic Act (i.e. display a number plate, have road tax, third party insurance, and a driving licence correct for the type of vehicle). Drivers must obey the rules of the road, giving way to pedestrians and horse riders.

What is a public right of way?

A public right of way is a route which anyone has the right to pass along without hindrance or obstruction. In law, public rights of way are highways which are subject to the same legal protection as any other public highway. Public rights of way are classified according to the type of use which is permitted on them:

  • Public footpath – a way for use only by walkers.
  • Public bridleway – a way for use by walkers, horses and cycles. 
  • Byway Open to All Traffic (BOAT) – a way which carries vehicular rights but which is used mainly by walkers, horses and cycles.
  • Restricted Byway – a way for use by walkers, horses and cycles, as well as non-mechanically propelled vehicles.

Ravenhead Road is a legal right of way but is owned by Pilkington. It could be assumed that as the road carries vehicular rights then it is the same as driving on the public highway; however, to be absolutely sure it is suggested that any driver who is concerned about this should check with their own insurance provider.

Please see the poster below in regards to criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable adults.

The poster is from County Lines and is provided by the Home Office.

Operators are encouraged to print the poster and display it in your operating offices.

County Lines, Home Office Poster

If you would like further information on criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable adults, please visit:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/criminal-exploitation-of-children-and-vulnerable-adults-county-lines