Yellow-only taxis rule to remain in place

Published Wednesday, 4th December 2019

Hartlepool's distinctive yellow taxis will continue to be a common sight on the town's roads after councillors voted unanimously to keep them.

Members of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Licensing Committee decided to retain their yellow-only rule for hackney carriages following a consultation exercise.

A decision to consult on a possible change to the mandatory colour scheme - one of several proposed amendments to the town’s Taxi Licensing Policy - was taken by the committee in September after the owners of 60 hackney carriages, 45% of the town’s entire hackney carriage fleet, formally requested that they be allowed to operate cars of a standard manufacturer’s colour.

This, the owners argued, would remove the need for vehicles to be sprayed the required shade of yellow, significantly reducing costs.

The decision to retain the yellow-only rule was taken at a meeting of the Licensing Committee in Hartlepool Civic Centre where representatives of the taxi trade spoke for and against a rule change.

Councillors rejected the view of Blue Line Taxis that the yellow-only rule was an unnecessary regulatory burden and said they believed that retaining it would help to protect the public as yellow cars are readily identifiable as taxis.

Trading Standards and Licensing Manager Ian Harrison, who recommended retention of the yellow-only rule, said that during the consultation process a significant number of hackney carriage owners who had originally requested a change to the colour policy changed their minds and, instead, requested that the policy remain unchanged.

“In total, 21 of the 33 vehicle owners who signed the original petition requesting a colour change now want to see things stay as they are,” he told the committee

He added that when responses received from other hackney carriage owners during the consultation were taken into account, the final results showed that 57 vehicle owners representing 65 vehicles (49%) wanted to stay yellow and 14 vehicle owners representing 45 vehicles (34%) wanted to change, while 22 owners representing 22 vehicles (17%) did not give an opinion.

In addition to consulting with the trade, licensing officials also set up an online survey to allow members of the public to express their views. In total, 827 people responded, with 71.46% in favour of staying yellow.