West Suffolk taxi drivers and residents are being asked for their views on proposals that would see the same policies applying to the trade across the district .
The move to aligning the policies of the former St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath areas began in 2017, ahead of the creation of the new West Suffolk Council in April 2019. It has been taken in stages to allow customers and the taxi trade (the majority of whom are self-employed) to adjust to the changes. Fares were aligned in June 2018 making the cost of a running mile the same for each district.
The current proposals include creation of a single licensing zone, whether and how to introduce changes to vehicle livery, and vehicle age.
A council spokesperson said: “As the licensing authority, the council uses policies to promote public safety and confidence in the hackney carriage and private hire trades by maintaining the highest possible standards and we regularly consult on updates.
“Since 2017 we have also been gradually aligning the policies of the two former authorities that came together to form the new West Suffolk Council. This is the last stage and we are looking for the views of the taxi trade, businesses and the public on proposals for completing that alignment and on updating best practice. We hope as many people as possible will take part.”
The policies apply to two types of taxi, a hackney carriage which can be hailed within its licensing area and can park on a taxi rank; and private hire vehicles which need to be pre-booked. The two current licensing zones A and B reflect the former district and borough council areas. Hackney taxis in the former Forest Heath area, (with taxi ranks in Newmarket and Mildenhall) have black and yellow livery.
Consultation is open from today, Monday, January 27 until Sunday, March 8.
Visit www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/consultation to submit your comments online, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to West Suffolk Licensing Team, West Suffolk House, Western Way, Bury St Edmunds IP33 3YU.