The National Limousine and Chauffeur Association held on Thursday the 11th September 2014 at the Brig in Altofts and present as our principal guest was Mr Paul Jackson, the licensing officer for High Peaks District Council.
The main points of the meeting are catalogued below
The Law Commission report into taxi and private hire reform is now well and truly amongst us and subject to fine tuning looks as if it will be presented to Parliament for adoption. There are a number of key issues, and rather than try to explain all 298 pages of the report, we will confine ourselves to a precis of he most important ones that will affect our members.
All vehicles of up to eight passenger seats will be licensed by the local authority if they are used for hire and reward. Standards and rules will be unified throughout the country and there will no longer be the great disparity between councils. It looks as if all American stretched limousines will eventually have to go down this route, BUT there will have to be changes to both the PSV rules and also the numerous Transport acts before this can be applied
Vehicles of sixteen passenger seats are to be given the option to register either as PSV vehicles as they currently are, or to go under the Private Hire regime. Although there is one disturbing element under proposal 26 That ALL limousines and novelty vehicles (party buses etc) MUST be under private hire. I cannot see for the life of me why this should be unless they are panicking that PSV drivers do not have to have a DSB (CRB) check and all Private hire drivers do? Surely the answer is to add DSB checks to all PSV drivers? This is definitely long overdue. We then have the added problem of the larger novelty vehicles (currently up to 50 seats) and the European specification Hummers at 18 passengers, where do they fit ? . Once again what about the big bus rules and the number of operators who have invested a lot of money in being PSV compliant, with national licences and qualified fleet managers and the rest?
No need for an operator's license
No need to keep funds in place for the O license (this can be a significant amount)
No ten weekly inspections?
No daily walk round requirements?
Need to serve two masters, both PSV and PHV.
Still need PSV Mot test, PSV drivers, Drivers hour records, Tachographs etc.
No ten weekly inspections (important for safety)
No daily walk round inspections (important for safety)
You will notice that some items are on both for and against. I genuinely don't think that this section has been given enough thought. By the Law Commission other than the knee jerk reaction about DBS checks.
Timing of the adoption of the reform proposals. I cannot see that it will reach the statute books prior to 1st January 2016 as no one in government will realistically attempt this before the next general election. Once the elections are over then it may just be seen as an 'easy' case to put before parliament with all the bugs ironed out for a new government to push through and show that they are being proactive.
Weddings and funerals - are to remain as exempt matters just as they are under the Local government miscellaneous provisions act 1976, once again I presume that this will only cover vehicles of eight passenger seats or less and not extend to the larger vehicles. Please remember that if you use a 'wedding car' for proms or special occasions then you MUST be licensed for hire and reward.
High Peak District Council - Mr Paul Jackson stated that High Peak District council will license chauffeur driven cars of all types and ages, subject to inspection and condition, signage is kept to a minimum with a discrete credit card sized badge which is displayed just above the tax disc, apart from that there is NO requirement for door signs, badges or plates.
It was also agreed that 'the knowledge' test was an irrelevance for chauffeur cars working up and down the country.. All that is insisted on is the Driver's current license, a DSB (CRB) check, a medical prior to the grant of a driver's badge.
To comply with the law the PHV operator must have an office and a telephone line within the High Peak area. The NLCA is in discussion to provide an office for the exclusive use of its members both for physical access, post and for telephone lines. Enquiries please to Bill for operators considering licensing within High Peak.
With stretched limousines High Peak council have no facilities to test these and is was proposed that on initial application a MOT test certificate less than a month old be submitted and that each six months a fresh MOT be issued and sent to High Peak. The NLCA have offered both advice and guidance on any American stretched limousine which may wish to be licensed.
Budget costs are as follows.
:: 118 for a driver for 3 years
:: 26 for a DSB (CRB) check
:: Drivers medical
:: 100 for an operator’s license
:: 88 for an initial vehicle inspection
:: 54 for a normal vehicle test (MOT standard)
Driver's licenses -
All operators should be aware that there is a legal duty for them to check ALL drivers’ licences every thirteen weeks, and that one of the checks each year should be carried out at the DVLA. To this end we have enlisted the services of Jade Hill at Transport Training services (Jade.Hill@ttsukgroup.com) to carry out this and other services for members. Costs are a modest £6.00 per check, and they might just keep you out of court and definitely free of a corporate manslaughter charge. Each driver will have to fill in a JO21 mandate and a D796 form which grants the employer the right to check his or her license on a continuing basis for a period of three years. TTS also carry out Driver's CPC, Management CPC, Tachograph analysis, Transport audits FLT and ADR training and much more. Now may be the time for you to look at your systems (or lack of them) and get a professional in to look at and safeguard your operator's license.
Traffic Commissioners - Just a timely reminder that the TC's are looking very closely at the conditions applied to your O license and if you do not comply, or even understand them, then you will end up at a public inquiry if you are stopped for even a minor matter. The watch word is compliance, the Traffic Commissioners have no dispensation on matters of non compliance, Black or white, legal or illegal, its your choice, but if you don’t make the effort then don't look at the NLCA to fight your battles after the event. The bar is getting higher each time, especially for small vehicles operated under section 265 of the Transport 2000 act.
Daily walk round sheets - just a reminder that even the smallest defect that arises on a job must be reported, don't just change a blown bulb, put it down as a defect, replace it and then sign it off and date the repair. It is important to demonstrate your audit trail and the fact that you know what you are doing and are remaining compliant.
If you are on a vehicle with a tachograph, PLEASE turn it on and put it on 'other work' whilst you are carrying out our daily walk round, this shows that you are spending a good ten minutes doing it and not just jumping into the vehicle and driving off. When you set off and change to driving mode it will NOT have affected your driving hours, but it will have help to create your audit trail.
MOT tests - just a timely reminder that recently a number of sixteen seat PSV vehicles have been issued with a class 5 MOT certificate, even though the test was carried out at an approved PSV test centre, in one case neither the operator or the test centre realised the mistake until the vehicle was stopped by DVSA. The correct test is class 6.
PSV drivers hours - thee is a very useful booklet titled Staying legal (the basics) available in both hard copy and as a download at http://www.vosa.gov.uk/staying-legal-psv. The layout is excellent and gives you 'at a glance answers' give one to each of your drivers.
Fire engines, Hummers & similar - limited to eight passengers - although these vehicle are often limited to eight passengers to avoid the need for a COIF, as they are over 3.5ton weight you will need the 7.5 ton category on your drivers license, plus a driver's CPC qualification, even though they are NOT PSV vehicles. They do NOT need a tachograph but the driver will be governed by the 'Domestic rules' for driver's hours and breaks. Having said that all drivers who drive commercially for a living are already covered by the European working time directive, and we recommend the carrying of a pocket diary to keep a continuous record of your hours of work and days off. Even if you drive an eight passenger vehicle.
A diary can also defuse a roadside encounter when you are stopped, and despite your Tachograph records being in order you cannot demonstrate what other work you have done that week or the records of your days off. Please visit the pound shop every year and treat every driver to a new diary.
These notes are to the best of my recollection a true record of the meeting, but if you feel that there are any mistakes or errata to them please inform me, preferably by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0788 656 3724.
National Limousine and Chauffeur Association
A good tip is to hire your Stretched Limousine from a NLcA Licenced Operator
Limo Engineering Ltd provides specialised engineering solutions to limousine operators with stretch limousines in the 8-16 passengers category, as classed under the PSV regulations. www.limoengineering.co.uk
Meeting with Norman Baker - good news
The meeting between Mr Norman Baker Parliamentary Secretary of State for Transport and Bill Bowling legislation officer of the National Limousine and Chauffeur Association was hopefully the first of a chain of dialogue with the Minister and the DfT, the purpose was to highlight the problems of running and licensing limousines and novelty vehicles throughout the UK.
The lack of consistency between the four hundred and six local licensing authorities, leaving operators with a post code lottery as to the chance of licensing with them was of great concern, as was the inadequacies of the Local government miscellaneous provisions act 1976 as to safety inspections. This coupled with both lack of will and knowledge in many authorities putting limousines in to the "too difficult" category made for a standard that was considered by the NLCA to be unacceptably low.
Changes brought about by the DfT to the PSV requirements seemed to us to be a fairly deliberate ploy to attempt to put all limousines and novelty vehicles under the control of the Local authorities, without first ensuring that there was adequate provisions to do so. Where some local authorities have a good and sensible working relation with limousine operators we are quite pleased and happy to see this continue, but we would appreciate a specific category under the PSV operators license that acknowledges that we are neither a bus or a private hire in the true sense of either.
Our request hinges on passenger safety, where regular inspections coupled with daily walk rounds under PSV achieve a lot in preventing defects and potential accidents. A scheme operated under the watchful eye of the Traffic Commissioners would be easier to police nationally, would take less to alter in legislation, and would fit into an existing judicial system where the TC's already have the power of sanction and removal of an operators license. Under the PHV rules all decisions have to be made, or challenged, in a Magistrate's court as to their efficacy, and this can be long winded and unreliable.
The NLCA has, at the request of Norman Baker, provided more information for them to research in order to progress further. Although it is very early days we are encouraged by the response and positive attitude of Mr Baker, and for the first time in many years we feel that we are not pushing against a locked door, or at least not one that is bolted shut.
This notice will be updated as an when new info comes in.
National Limousine and Chauffeur Association
Harmonised IVA rules the banning of sidefacing seats
The National Limousine & Chauffeur Association are leading an action group against the proposed new harmonised IVA rules which would result in a ban on side facing seats on limousines. These rules would come in to force in either late 2010 or 2011 and would initially affect M1 class vehicles including limousines of up to eight passenger seats, but we feel eventually be applied to the larger vehicles M2 & M3 vehicles..
These proposals stem from Europe and do not take in to account the unique and very large industry that has built up in the UK for stretched limousines. Challenges and negotiation now may save the long term future of the limousine industry. If you are a serious player in the limousine industry you cannot afford to ignore the warning bells, support is needed to ward off probably the most serious threat to our industry to date.
Once again we have teamed up with Manchester Metropolitan University, Department of Mechanical Engineering in regards to testing & reports.
You can show your support by both e mailing email@example.com and by committing to be an active member, an investment now in time, commitment and a small amount of money firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure that the Limousines industry is still alive and viable in two years time.
Important news: Please log into your account to view the VOSA Consultation Paper which sets out the regulations being strongly considered which will deal with impounding illegal operators limousines.
You can now make a direct enquiry about hiring hire a limousine from an NLCA approved operator simply by selecting your county in the Hire a Limousines section on the left of any page - from the list of results you will see a Get a Quote link when you select that a simple form about your needs is immediately transmitted to that operator - no fees are taken by anyone - what you negotiate with your chosen limo operator is between you and that limousines company.
All we encourage you to do when you consider hiring a limousine we ask you to check to see if the company you are looking to supply the limo hire is running their vehicles legally. Unfortunately some operators are out there cutting corners on safety and legislation compliance.
The NLCA is here to to manage the process of helping those operators in the UK who want to operate safely and legally to do just that. We have a strong team of experienced members who are elected by the members of the NLCA as a whole - our aims are to support those interested in providing the customers of the Limousine Industry with a service that matches the high standards we require of any approved member.
You will only find NLCA approved operators on this website.
NLCA & VOSA and the Police and the DfT
Following today's meeting between the NLCA, VOSA, the Police & the DfT, we can report that significant progress has been made in achieving an accord on possible legislation governing the safe and legal operation of vehicles up to and including 8 passenger seats, and from 9 to 16 passenger seats.
Whilst details may not be discussed until proposals have been placed in front of the minister. We feel that we will soon be able to offer definitive and specific advice on both the current interpretation of the rules, and also major changes which will occur early in the new year affecting both up to 8 passenger, and 9 to 16 passenger limousines.
We would like to take this opportunity to welcome new and existing members to a new look organisation which is striving for excellence within the industry and setting new standards.
Our dedicated team of committee members are here to help, support and offer advice on limousines and chauffeur driven cars. The comradely is a pleasure to experience.
There are many benefits of joining this vibrant, thriving and professional organisation which cares about its members. Some of the benefits are listed on the members benefits page. These are constantly being upgraded as committee members strive to secure other fruitful offers.
We are sure when you join the NLCA you will not be disappointed. Our wealth of knowledge and years of experience within the industry is second to none and a great help in times of need.
Joining the NLCA just got easier. You can now by card. Simply complete the Member Application form - send it in and and our membership secretary will call you
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