Plans to introduce a county-wide policy for licensing taxis and hackney carriages in North Yorkshire are being drawn up.
It is proposed that the new North Yorkshire Council operate one hackney carriage ‘zone’ for the whole county.
This will allow drivers to operate across the county.
Officials say one benefit of this will be a wider distribution of wheelchair-accessible vehicles, although change could prove unpopular with Richmondshire taxi drivers who would face competition from firms based elsewhere.
Members of North Yorkshire County Council’s decision-making executive will meet next week to discuss plans to launch a consultation on the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy for the whole of the county.
The existing seven borough and district councils currently have their own hackney carriage and private hire licensing policies.
But ahead of the launch of the new North Yorkshire Council, which will deliver all local services from April 1 next year, the county council’s executive will be asked to endorse a consultation for the new policy.
Officials say the new policy seeks to ensure that the public continues to be provided with safe and accessible hackney carriage and private hire vehicles, as well as a coherent regulatory framework for the trade across the county.
North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for open to business, Councillor Derek Bastiman, said: “I would encourage anyone who drives or regularly uses taxis or private hire vehicles to take part in this consultation to help us shape the new Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy for North Yorkshire.
“The policy plays an integral part in demonstrating the council’s commitment to ensuring that the public is provided with safe and accessible hackney carriages and private hire vehicles by the trade.
“And as a single local authority for North Yorkshire, it also ensures hackney carriage and private hire licence holders and taxi operators across the county are treated equally.”
The 12-week consultation allows licence holders, taxi operators and the public to have the opportunity to share their views and help to shape the policy that will serve North Yorkshire Council.
There are no plans to impose hackney carriage quantity restrictions on the creation of a new single zone, and hackney carriage fares and fees will be reviewed at a later date.
If approved by the decision-making executive on Tuesday next week (October 18), the consultation on the draft Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy for North Yorkshire will run from Tuesday, October 25, until Monday, January 16.
All comments received will be considered by the executive in the new year with the aim of implementing the policy with the launch of the new authority.