Taxi drivers to hear of changes

SCORES of taxi drivers are expected at a Town Hall meeting this evening (Thurs) to discover how they will be affected by North Somerset Council s taxi policy.

SCORES of taxi drivers are expected at a Town Hall meeting this evening (Thurs) to discover how they will be affected by North Somerset Council's taxi policy.

Cabbies say they have been 'left in the dark' by the unitary authority over measures including more regular medical checks and increased testing for older vehicles.

A map-reading test for drivers and a penalty points system for offences, including a dirty car, are also among controversial steps proposed by the council.

Last month, the Weston & Somerset Mercury revealed some cabbies were planning a 'lockdown' in the town centre on a Saturday night unless the authority thought again about its proposals.


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Taxi firms said they would be put out of business by the costly proposals which could lead to job losses.

Now the authority amended its proposals for medical examinations and tests for older vehicles.

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Medical testing will not come into force until the council has identified a doctor who will deal specifically with taxi drivers.

Under previous proposals, they would have been introduced at the renewal date of the existing taxi licence.

Officers have been asked to come back to the committee by October 31 with their recommendations.

Increased testing of vehicles more than six years old will start at the renewal date of existing licences after April 1 next year.

At the time of going to press, the authority had received more than 120 responses to its original plans unveiled at a planning and regulatory committee meeting on February 20.

One respondent said the introduction of a penalty point scheme was 'unnecessary and an infringement on human rights'.

A decision on whether to adopt the new policy will be taken tonight at a Town Hall planning and regulatory committee meeting.

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