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COUNCIL CITES PUBLIC SAFETY IN TAXI FLAG BAN

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Cheltenham BC has clarified its position following media reports that it has banned taxi drivers from displaying fl...
Cheltenham BC has clarified its position following media reports that it has banned taxi drivers from displaying flags on their vehicles.

The council's statement follows:

'Licensed taxis are only allowed to display official identification, such as roof signs. This is an important public safety issue, as passengers need to be able to clearly see the official ID on the vehicle to ensure they can flag it down with confidence. Following discussions with the drivers, we believe they understand the issue'.

Verbal requests have been made about England flags and in response we have issued advice (It is not a rule as such).

This licensing authority does not permit them because:

1. Public safety - It could cause confusion amongst the public due to flags either hiding the identification signage or the public misunderstanding what these vehicles are.

2. Construction & Use Offences - depending on where the flags are placed, the possible impairment of the driver's vision.

3. Advertising Policy - Cheltenham BC has a strict policy on advertising on vehicles to restrict offensive or abusive material being displayed on licensed vehicles. This policy would be strongly considered if any formal application was received.

4. Cosmetic appearance - It is a licensed vehicle and should display a good standard of appearance.

There is no specific dress code. The conditions on the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire driving licence state 'be clean and tidy in dress and appearance to the satisfaction of the licensing enforcement officer'.

The refusal would be for any flag irrespective of its nationality.

A discreet small sticker would have to be judged on its appearance, literary content (offensive or abusive) and its position in relation to the impairment of the driver's vision.

Cheltenham BC have discussed this issue both independently and with members of the Hackney Carriage Forum. If substantive evidence was offered that the flag did not comply with our standard conditions or advertisement policy for licensed vehicles then appropriate action would be considered. This would be in line with our enforcement concordat which supports a proportioned response to non-compliance.

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