'˜It's just not fare' - Northampton cabbies call on council to reinstate age limit on Hackney carriages

New rules that allow cab drivers to operate vehicles of any age in Northampton will flood the market with old cars - cabbies argued during a Guildhall meeting last night.

Thursday, 3rd March 2016, 6:28 am

In January, Northampton Borough Council changed the three-year age limit for hackney carriages, which means drivers are already starting to use vehicles up to 19-years-old around the town.

Northampton Hackney Carriage Association said it was concerned that the move would increase an already crowded number of taxi operators in Northampton.

Last night more than a dozen licensed drivers attended to the Guildhall to call for the authority to overturn the decision.

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One of those at the scrutiny panel meeting last night, Steve Evans, of Weston Favell, said: “The decision to allow any-age vehicles into Northampton was flawed.

“There will be a big drop in standards - and we know this because the last 12 vehicles that have been plated have been at least 16 years old.

“Who in their right mind would consider buying a decent vehicle?”

Mr Evans said he and the majority of his colleagues had shelled out in excess of £40,000 for their cabs.

He believes the less expensive older cars will have the effect of “cheapening the trade” in Northampton.

“It seems mad, we have a new bus station and train station, the town is regenerating. But we will have people driving around in old cabs,” he said.

Mr Evans also says it will greatly increase the carbon emissions in Northampton and believes the council should instate a five-year age limit on Hackney Carriages, to bring the town in line with London and Birmingham.

A spokeswoman for the borough council said: “Prior to January 2016 there was an upper limit on the age of hackney vehicles at first registration. This was finally removed following a committee decision in 2012 to phase it out.

“The situation remains that all vehicles being registered as Hackneys and private hire vehicles have to pass a very stringent inspection prior to be being licensed and the council must be satisfied that the vehicles used in Northampton are safe.”