Councillors are being asked to approve plans to introduce a simplified licensing process for chauffeurs in Birmingham following a successful pilot scheme in the city.
If given the go-ahead, the scheme would enable chauffeurs and executive transport drivers to operate in the city without having to apply for a private hire driver's licence, which would require them to learn routes across the city and memorise two point locations.
Instead, they would be able to apply for an alternative licence which removes these requirements, while retaining the need for them to demonstrate an understanding on navigation using an A to Z guide while also being able to answer simple legal and conditions-based questions. If the proposal is approved, applications would have the option to take out a two or three-year licence, depending on their requirements.
The scheme was first piloted from 1 April 2013, with the first licences issued in July 2013, in response to requests from limousine and executive hire companies who were concerned that requiring drivers to meet the same standards as private hire drivers was hindering their ability to recruit.
Cllr Barbara Dring, chair of Birmingham City Council's Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “The pilot has been a success and we know from feedback that companies see real value in holding a local authority licence as it provides assurance to their customers that vehicles and drivers are regulated.
“It will also remove certain burdens associated with the private hire licence which made it difficult for companies to recruit suitable drivers. This, in turn, will not only help companies in Birmingham to expand but will also benefit those looking to set up their own chauffeuring business, providing a further boost to the local economy.”
The proposal will be considered by the council's Licensing and Public Protection Committee on 17 September.
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