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Article date - 23 June 2017
The word ‘taxi’ is often used interchangeably to describe hackney carriage vehicles (or ‘black cabs’) that can be ‘flagged’ in the street and private hire vehicles, which must be booked through a licensed operator.
Now when you see the new yellow private hire or red hackney carriage plates – unique to taxis licensed in the borough – you can rest assured that the cab you’re in and the driver you’re with, have been approved following rigorous testing by St Helens Council.
The council insists on the highest standards of vehicle care and maintenance and carries out checks twice a year – double the frequency of our neighbouring boroughs.
The new plates, which were introduced in April this year, are also fully recyclable. When a vehicle passes a check, new plates are issued and the old ones are recycled in a completely eco-friendly way. Passengers can therefore be reassured that every taxi bearing the new plates is up-to-date with its safety checks.
They’re also much easier to see now, vibrantly coloured and positioned on the rear of the taxi and also the top corner of the vehicle’s windscreen, making them visible to other drivers in the rear-view mirror.
When you use a taxi with St Helens plates, you’ll know that you’re supporting local drivers. Not unusually these days you may see private hire vehicles in the borough displaying licence plates issued by other councils, which have not passed through St Helens Council’s rigorous licensing process. These taxis are legally allowed to take jobs from their operator if a local driver is not available but are not allowed to work permanently within the borough.
St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Green, Smart and Sustainable Borough, Councillor Terry Shields said: “The new plates are a great idea and will certainly contribute to public safety. A well-informed customer can make smarter choices and a well-regulated fleet can deliver a safer service. They’ll also support our local licensed vehicle trade to keep the work within our borough.”
Photo: Local taxi driver Paul Brimelow shows off the new plates, with Jane Molyneux, Licensing and Land Charges Officer.