The Ely Standard reports that Ely taxi drivers could be made to wear smart clothes and have more health checks as part of council plans to improve the service
Smart trousers, shirt, shoes and optional tie for men or cravat for women is being suggested alongside a raft of other ideas, including a single colour taxi scheme so that all cabs in the city are silver.
An eight week consultation into the suggestions received just 10 responses from six drivers, two members of the public, a disability group and a council member.
The suggestions are yet to be approved in a meeting of the East Cambs District licensing committee on Wednesday November 8.
If given the go ahead the new rules will come into force on New Year’s Day.
Among the areas looked at were:
• Safeguarding training.
• Dress code.
• A three yearly medical.
• How often cars should be tested.
• A penalty points scheme.
• DBS checks.
A spokesman for East Cambs licensing team said all taxi drivers must complete safe guarding training by the end of next year, new drivers within six months of holding a licence.
A spokesman said: “All existing licence holders will be given opportunities to attend the training free of charge.
“Officers are working with neighbouring councils in an attempt to provide one standard course which will enable drivers to use the training certificate obtained at any participating council to support an application.
One taxi driver said of the one colour scheme said it : “Is a terrible idea.
“The taxi sign is recognised the world over. Tourists will not come to Ely and think, there’s a yellow, green, red car – that must be a taxi.
“At night the one colour scheme will become pointless! Unless the licensing department want us to change the colour to day glo yellow.
“What should be amended is the size of the taxi sign – at the moment there are some really small signs and in the day they are not obvious from a distance.”
The report says that if drivers need more medicals it will mean an eight additional health checks between the age of 21 and 45 and additional three between 45 and 65.
A spokesman said: “Studies have shown that drivers of hackney carriages and private hire vehicles spend large amounts of time in a sedentary position and they have shown that taxi drivers as a group suffer from high levels of chronic disease linked to sedentary lifestyles, poor diet and stress.”