Taxi drivers in Nottingham could face penalty points and even have their licences revoked

Taxi drivers could be given penalty points for 10 offences including turning off the meter or parking badly in Nottingham.

The city council is considering introducing what it has dubbed a Driver Improvement Penalty Point Scheme.

Drivers say it would mean “double punishment” but the council says it will improve driving standards.

Councillors will debate the idea at Nottingham City Council’s regulatory and appeals committee on Tuesday September 6.

Kaleem Ashraf, chairman of the Nottingham branch of union Unite, represents unionised hackney carriage drivers. He said: “We haven’t been consulted yet, but we are happy to speak to the council and raise our concerns.

“They are trying to reduce the number of hackney drivers but are portraying it as improvement.

“And if they do bring it in they need to enforce it 24/7, unless it will just be targeting hackney drivers or develop into a game of cat and mouse.”

There are currently 411 hackney cabs and over 1,000 private hire vehicles licensed in Nottingham.

Mr Ashraf said: “There’s only about 80 or 90 hackney spaces, so if everyone came out at the same time it would be chaos. We’ve been asking for more spaces for years.

“And the night time economy is changing, so we need to move with that but the council need to work with us rather than making it as difficult as possible.”

Under the proposed scheme, drivers can receive up to twelve points over a three-year rolling period before their licence will be reviewed. If they exceed twelve points, action will be taken, up to and including suspending or revoking their licence.

Points could be given out for “driving a vehicle in an unroadworthy condition”, “failure to convey passengers in a safe and responsible manner”, “parking a vehicle in contravention of parking restrictions” or “failure to use taxi meter for journeys within prescribed distance”.

  • 4 pts – Failure to use Taxi Meter for journeys within prescribed distance
  • 4 pts – Refusal to accept hiring without reasonable cause
  • 4 pts – Failure to display driver badge and/or wear identification badge
  • 6 pts – Driving a vehicle in an unroadworthy condition
  • 4 pts – Parking a vehicle in contravention of parking restrictions
  • 4 pts – Failure to display signs or plates correctly, or displaying unauthorised signs
  • 6 pts – Obstruction / failure to comply with reasonable request made by Authorised Officers or Police Officers
  • 6 pts – Failure to convey passengers in a safe and responsible manner
  • 6 pts – Unacceptable behaviour towards members of public, Authorised Officers or Police Officers
  • 4 pts – Failure to comply with any other Nottingham City Council combined drivers and vehicle licence condition not included above

Kevin Clarke director at private hire firm NG11 Cars, said: “They are trying to make the city centre a completely car free zone.

“I don’t condone any drivers that fly around the roads but if they park badly or drive badly they will get points on their drivers licence. Giving them separate points on their taxi licence is a double punichment.”

As licensing authority, the council says it is “keen to see the sector survive and thrive as part of the city’s widely-admired sustainable transport network” and says the DIPP Scheme will help make that happen in the next five years.

Other ideas being considered include restriction of granting licences to potential cabbies with driving offences on their record and temporary licence suspensions if taxis enter restricted streets.

Portfolio holder for business, growth and transport, Councillor Nick McDonald, said: “Taxis are an important part of the city’s widely-acclaimed transport network and we need to be sure they are fit for purpose in the modern world.

“The proposal to introduce a Driver Improvement Penalty Point Scheme helps to reassure passengers that there are minimum standards among licensed taxis in Nottingham aimed primarily at ensuring they get a good, safe service, while reminding taxi drivers of the responsibilities and standards expected of them.

“This is part of a broader strategy to bring local taxis up to standards that the travelling public expect and connect them more effectively with other parts of our local transport network.”

A council spokesman added: “Taxi driver representatives came to us two years ago asking for us to consider introducing a points system and as we’ve looked into it we’ve had various discussions and meetings with them about it.

“However as the enforcing authority, it is appropriate that the we determine the details of the scheme.”