Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Newsletter – April 2020
Coronavirus latest

Thank you for bearing with us while we set up remote working. We now have a system in place to accept online applications with payments being made online. If your licence is coming up to its expiry date, please check our website for the latest information on how to renew. Guidance is also included on medicals, driver and passenger safety, and links to where you can find additional support at this tough time.
Gov.uk coronavirus information for the transport sector 

Please follow the link to the gov.uk page for information for people using transport or working in the transport sector during the coronavirus outbreak.
Driving for Better Business - coronavirus toolkit

Driving for Better Business have put together a toolkit for drivers with resources to help support your business. See the link for more information.
Coronavirus fraud

Be wary of fraudsters attempting to exploit the current situation. One way taxi drivers have been unknowingly used in fraud is to collect packages from petrol stations where staff have been tricked into handing over goods by scammers pretending to be from head office. Please be vigilant and don’t accept anything that seems suspicious.
Insulin dependent diabetic?

Remember that in order to meet the DVLA Group 2 medical standards, you are required to have a full medical every year, as well as an annual assessment from a specialist diabetic consultant. Please contact the licensing team if you are not sure of what is required or check the Gov.uk website
Expired documents

Recently renewed your insurance or DVLA licence? Please make sure you provide the licensing team with a copy. In light of the current situation, copies are accepted via email as long as they are clear and legible. If an officer requests you supply a copy, please provide this promptly to avoid the possible suspension of your licence.

You should be checking your tyres daily for tread depth as well as damage such as nails and bulges. Remember that the minimum legal tread depth is 1.6mm but groups such as the RAC recommend a minimum of 3mm for greater safety. Vehicle licences are subject to immediate suspension if they are found with illegal or dangerous tyres, so don’t risk it and make sure your tyres are safe and compliant. 
Compliance test

If your vehicle fails a compliance test the licence will be suspended immediately in the interests of public safety, so please make sure that the vehicle is in good order before you present if for inspection. It is best practice to ensure your vehicle is regularly serviced in line with the manufacturers’ recommendations. For details of the equipment that must be carried in all licensed vehicles, see your licence conditions.
Vehicle maintenance 

The DVSA has prepared a guide to maintaining passenger carrying vehicles. This guide contains lots of information which can assist you with your own vehicle maintenance and inspections.

Don’t forget that your licence conditions require you to notify the council of matters like accidents, changes of address or fixed penalty notices. Don’t risk points on your licence by failing to make a notification.
Sat-nav or phone on your windscreen?

Be aware that road traffic law requires you to maintain clear visibility from the driver’s seat, so make sure your view is not blocked by your phone, sat-nav or other devices. Your vehicle may fail its compliance test and you could be issued a fixed penalty notice if you are stopped and found to have devices blocking your view.
Inconsiderate parking

Inconsiderate parking is often a source of annoyance, whether it is a shopper parked on the taxi rank or a licensed vehicle blocking a disabled bay. Please take care where you stop your vehicle to make sure you are parked considerately. Please also be reminded that there are no exemptions for licensed vehicles when it comes to double yellow lines. While you may stop for long enough to allow passengers to enter or exit your vehicle if it is safe to do so, you cannot wait on double yellow lines for customers to exit a venue or to use your phone to look up your next booking.
Penalty points

The councils’ policy includes a points scheme for breaches of the law and licence conditions. If you reach a total of 12 points within a 12 month period, you may be referred to a Panel. The issue of points constitutes a warning and whilst there is a route of appeal against the issue of points, an appeal will only be considered where there is a genuine reason. Check your licence conditions and the councils’ policy if you are in any doubt.
Roof signs

Don’t forget that the licence conditions require all hackney carriages to display a roof sign that is connected to the taximeter and which is lit when the vehicle is available for hire. You could be issued penalty points if your roof sign is not displayed, is inoperable or not correctly connected up to the meter.
Fare cards

Remember that all hackney carriages must have a tariff card on display so your customers can see what fare they will be charged. This card should have the days and times the different tariffs are active and should be clear and legible, unlike this example which has hand written amendments.
Exempt from displaying the licence plate?

If you have an existing exemption or are looking to apply for an exemption in the future, remember that you must provide supporting evidence with each application. If you don’t supply the required documents, we may not be able to process your application. See the application forms for details of what is required.
Vehicles are licensed 24/7

Please remember that once your vehicle is licensed, it is licensed 24 hours a day until the licence expires or it is revoked or suspended. This means that it can only be driven by a licensed driver at any time, and must be fully compliant with the licence conditions. If your vehicle is seen to not be displaying a plate or roof sign, it is not an excuse to say you weren’t working at the time.
Restricted roads in Oxford city centre

All drivers are reminded that vehicles are not permitted to use Queen Street near the Westgate shopping centre (only Oxford City hackney carriages are exempt from the restriction) or the Westgate Link Road between 7pm and 7am daily. See local signage for confirmation.

Don’t forget it is an offence to tout or solicit a customer to hire your vehicle. Please contact the licensing team if you have any queries on the rules.
Safe senders

The licensing team will increasing be using emails for renewal reminders and other essential communications. Please add licensing.unit@whitehorsedc.gov.uk to your safe senders list so you don't miss out.

If you no longer wish to receive these newsletters, please send an email to licensing.unit@whitehorsedc.gov.uk and let us know rather than using the unsubscribe button below. You will still receive essential communications in relation to your licence but will be removed from the newsletter mailing list.