Hartlepool taxis set to lose their trademark yellow under new plans

Hartlepool’s trademark yellow taxis could be no more under plans to change the colour of the town’s cabs.

Wednesday, 11th September 2019, 5:45 pm
Hartlepool's taxis are set to lose their trademark yellow colour if proposed changes go ahead

Council chiefs are holding a consultation on scrapping the rule which makes the colour a requirement for all hackney carriages licensed in Hartlepool.

The proposal came as part of amendments to Hartlepool Borough Council’s Taxi Licensing Policy which were given the go-ahead by the authority’s licensing committee to go before a consultation.

The change has been formally requested by the owners of 60 hackney carriages, around 45% of the entire hackney carriage fleet in Hartlepool.

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Drivers have asked for the uniform yellow to be replaced by a ‘standard manufacturer’s colour’ such as white, black or silver.

Ian Harrison, the council’s trading standards and licensing manager, noted currently cars must be resprayed to the appropriate shade of yellow which could cost from £500 to £1,500.

He also recommended white as the replacement colour to be included as part of the consultation.

He said: “There are a number of pros and cons as to what a change of colour might mean, whether it is a good thing to do or a bad thing to do.

“45% of the trade has written to me and asked for a change of colour, that’s not to say 55% of the trade don’t want a change of colour, the other 55% haven’t asked or expressed any opinion yet.

“There is a cost [in having yellow hackney carriages], one could argue any costs that are placed on to the trade are ultimately recovered through taxi fares which are paid by the public.

“Cost is an issue, but some others might say yellow is an iconic colour for Hartlepool, it has an importance and it’s been around for a long time.”

Reducing costs

Coun Brenda Loynes backed the move, stating it could result in reduced costs for taxi drivers.

She said: “Yellow, it’s bright and you can see and know it’s a taxi.

“But if it’s going to incur costs to the taxi drivers I’m against it really, they’ve got enough to contend with, all the different fees, so I’ve got no problem at all having black, silver or white cars.”

Council bosses said a change to the yellow-only rule would not require existing hackney carriages to be resprayed and there would be a transition period of up to eight years.

Private hire vehicles would also no longer be allowed to be the new selected colour, but again they would be subject to the transition period.

A period of consultation will now take place, with council bosses stating all hackney carriage owners and interested parties will be contacted, and the matter will return to councillors for consideration and potential approval in December.

Other changes

The updated Taxi Licensing Policy also includes changes to vehicle age restrictions and the process for carrying out driver criminal record checks.

The council previously had a policy drivers must provide an enhanced criminal record check every three years, but the new policy proposes they must provide an enhanced DBS certificate every 12 months.

Drivers will be encouraged to enrol on the DBS ‘update service’ which allows a driver to pay an annual fee of £13 for which their DBS history can be viewed at any time, after the one-off cost of the initial certificate of £44.

The council is also proposing to change its policy so cars must no longer be licensed after eight years on the road, in a bid to improve air quality, although the policy would not apply until April 2023, and discussions have taken place on a regional level.