Hartlepool taxis set to stay yellow after overwhelming response - and u-turn from some drivers

Hackney carriages in Hartlepool are set to remain yellow after a consultation was carried out looking at changing the colour.

Friday, 29th November 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 29th November 2019, 11:11 am

Findings have now been compiled and a report is to go before the council Licensing Committee on Wednesday, with council officers recommending the taxis stay yellow.

The report from Tony Hanson, assistant director for environment & neighbourhood services on the council, stated the majority of people wanted the yellow colour to remain.

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Taxi rank, Station Approach, Hartlepool.
Taxi rank, Station Approach, Hartlepool.

It said: “The council, as licensing authority, must take into consideration both its statutory duty to protect the public and its legal obligation to ensure it does not create unnecessary regulatory burdens on business.

“The council has previously decided that one way that it can protect the travelling public is to ensure that hackney carriage vehicles are easily recognisable and distinguishable from other vehicles.

“Taking into account all of the above matters, it is proposed that the revised Taxi Licensing Policy, retains the current requirement that hackney carriages be yellow in colour.”

During the consultation, 61% of the 93 hackney carriage owners who responded said they would prefer Hartlepool’s colour scheme to remain yellow, with 15% wanting change.

In a council on-line survey, 71% of the 827 members of the public said they wanted Hartlepool’s hackney carriages to stay yellow.

Women ‘wouldn’t use non-yellow taxis’

One female resident also raised concerns via email to the council she, and other women, would no longer use hackneys to get home from a night out if the colour changed as ‘anyone could wait in the taxi line’.

The initial request to change the colour came from a letter from a private hire operator and a petition from hackney carriage vehicle owners that collectively represented a total of 60 hackney carriages.

However during the consultation several changed their mind, and 21 of the 33 vehicle owners who signed the position for the colour change now want yellow to remain.

The main reason put forward by the hackney carriage trade towards changing the colour was it would allow owners to purchase a new or replacement vehicle without having to pay to re-spray it.

However research from council officers found 78% of the taxis were purchased second hand.

They said this means it is likely the vehicle would have to be re-sprayed regardless, as owners would prioritise other issues when purchasing a car.

The report also noted the cost of re-spraying a car can be as low as £220.

The proposed new taxi licensing policy also includes updates on permitted vehicle age and new requirements for drivers to take an annual criminal record check.

A final decision will be made when the Licensing Committee is recommended to adopt Hartlepool’s Taxi Licensing Policy at its meeting on Wednesday (December 4) at the Civic Centre, starting at 10am.