A taxi policy in Calderdale will go against the grain of what many other West Yorkshire councils are doing.
Private hire car drivers in Calderdale will be able to use magnetic door signs instead of adhesive ones on their vehicles despite this going against other similar guidelines at local authorities across the county.
Councillors were debating the Licensing and Regulator Committee’s recommendation this be allowed at full Calderdale Council, the debate boiling down in essence as balancing practicality for the drivers with safety concerns for members of the public.
Committee chair Coun Robert Thornber (Con, Ryburn) said he understood some members still had concerns but pointed out drivers and their vehicles were identified by the yellow licensing plates on their cars and the licence badges they wore.
Coun Carol Machell (Lab, Todmorden) the cross-party committee had had a sensitive meeting with more than 100 private hire vehicle drivers.
“It became clear we were putting unnecessary baggage in the way of ordinary folk just trying to get on with a job and feed their families, especially where drivers had employment with two taxi firms and were having great difficulties with the adhesive stickers,” she said.
Coun John Hardy (Con, Skircoat) said safety of the travelling public as paramount in making the decision and pointed out the decision requiring drivers to use the adhesive stickers was only made last December and was not supposed to be reviewed for three years.
Conservative group leader Coun Scott Benton (Brighouse) said survey results carried out showed a majority of members of the public canvassed were against allowing the change.
But Coun Mohammed Naeem (Lab, Park) said: “I want to make it absolutely clear I don’t think the committee wanted to compromise on aspects of safety in any case.”
He said the plate on the car and the drivers’ ID badges identified who they were clearly, the door stickers were there purely to advise who they worked for.
He explained some of the problems drivers were facing: “Many of the taxi drivers are using lease cars and it is difficult for them to get adhesive stickers off because they damage cars. We have to make sure the policies we have don’t make it too difficult for them to make a decent living.”
Coun Faisal Shoukat (Lab, Park) said at no point was any member of the panel wanting or willing to compromise the safety of the travelling public and after very careful consideration the committee took a common sense approach.