Wakefield taxis may be allowed darker windows under new rules

Strict rules around tinted glass on Wakefield taxis could be relaxed.

Friday, 20th March 2020, 3:03 pm
Updated Friday, 20th March 2020, 3:03 pm

Vehicles with a private hire or hackney carriage licence issued by Wakefield Council must have windows which are classed as 70 per cent transparent.

But that regulation could be changed to allow darker windows, with a minimum of 35 per cent light transmission.

The council is considering the move because local cabbies are being urged to use greener cars, which tend to have darker windows than the current standards allow.

The possible change will be discussed next Wednesday.

It believes the potential change would not compromise passenger safety.

The Wakefield District Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Association, which represents drivers, welcomed the prospect of the rules being relaxed.

A report going before the council's licensing committee next Wednesday said: a reduction to the 35 per cent threshold, "Would still allow occupants in the rear of vehicles to be seen in daylight.

"It is recognised that many licensed journeys are carried out in conditions where light is poor either in the evening or in the early hours of the morning.

If approved, the change would apply to hackney carriages as well as private hire cars.

"Additionally, during the winter months there are fewer hours of daylight for most of the day."

Officers say that some drivers in Wakefield are already getting a licence from other local authorities, effectively "circumnavigating" Wakefield Council's own stricter rules on tints.

Under the Deregulation Act brought in in 2015, cabbies can trade anywhere in the country with permission from just a single local council.

But Wakefield Council has very few powers to inspect and enforce its own rules on taxis operating in the district with a licence from elsewhere.

The report added: "Ultra-low emission vehicles that contribute significantly to the reduction of air pollutants are commonly supplied with windows too dark to meet the existing standards.

"Amendment of (the) current policy would provide further incentive to the trade to purchase such vehicles."

A spokesman for the drivers' Association, which opposed the current 70 per cent threshold when it was introduced, said simply: "Any change that benefits us a trade is welcome."

Wednesday's licensing committee is still expected to go ahead as normal, although most other council meetings have been cancelled as a result of coronavirus.

Local Democracy Reporting Service