Chichester cabbies unhappy at change to taxi rules

Taxi rank outside Chichester railway station. C120357-1
Taxi rank outside Chichester railway station. C120357-1

Moving away from a set of licensing conditions for hackney carriages after 25 years could put public safety at risk, taxi drivers in Chichester have warned.

The district council’s licensing committee voted to remove the London Conditions of Fitness (LCOF) that all hackney carriages currently comply with and form a group to set new conditions.

But there are fears moving away from the LCOF, first put in by the council in 1987, will make it harder for people to distinguish between licensed and unlicensed taxis in the future and could therefore endanger public safety.

Hackney carriage driver Jim Rendall said: “The hackney carriage partition protects the passenger and the driver. Moving away from the LCOF would be unsafe for other vehicles.”

He said moving away from the conditions would allow any vehicle, so long as it met the new conditions, to get licensed to pick up people in Chichester.

During a consultation into the LCOF, The London Taxi Company warned: “If the council moves away from their present conditions, this will allow converted vehicles to be taxis - lowering standards and putting public safety at risk. As many of these vehicles are operated by private hire companies, the distinction between licensed and unlicensed vehicles will be lost. This could endanger the public.”

A Chichester District spokesman said: “We would like to reassure residents that public safety is one of our key priorities and will continue to be so. Any new conditions will make sure that any licensed vehicle continues to be clearly identifiable as a taxi. Until the new conditions are approved the London conditions will remain in force.”