Wellingborough Council has made a number of improvements to the way in which Hackney Carriages and private hire vehicles are operated and licenced following a consultation with stakeholders.
The revised policy and conditions came into force on April 1 and lead the way in best practice in respect of safeguarding and criminal convictions.
A number of changes have been introduced, including safeguarding, disability training and assessments for all licensed drivers, enhanced medical checks, increased reviews of driver standards and a more detailed assessment of their fitness.
The council has also introduced an improved convictions policy, based on the outcomes and recommendations identified following recent incidents of grooming in Rochdale, Oldham, Bradford and Oxford.
Further revisions to the previous policy include the ability to licence rear loading disabled access private hire vehicles, allowing larger powered wheelchairs to be transported more easily.
Drivers can now only use a single blue-tooth earpiece in conjunction with a hands free mobile telephone and cannot smoke e-cigarettes in their licensed vehicle.
Amanda Wilcox, principal environmental health manager for Wellingborough Council, said: “Proposals have been amended on the basis of the consultation feedback, plus the council has retained all suggested improvements where there is a clear safeguarding or safety issue.
“We believe these proactive changes will improve knowledge amongst drivers and lead the way to enhance standards for all members of public who use the licensed taxi trade.”
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