Conwy Tightens control of 'Executive Vehicles' after luxury cars used for School Runs

  Posted: 20.01.21 at 18:25 by Local Democracy Reporter Jez Hemming

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A council has tightened its definitions on what an ‘executive’ vehicle is after some luxury cars were being used for private hire taxi jobs such as school runs.

Conwy County Council’s licensing committee approved a new set of definitions for executive/exempt vehicles at its meeting on Monday this week.

Executive vehicles are generally used for high-quality chauffeuring or contract work with companies, conveying officials, employees or guests.

These vehicles, which are expected to be of a particular standard, are exempt from displaying door plates (unlike private-hire cars) and drivers have no need to display their badge.

However, it appears some people have been circumventing the rules, according to officer Sam Jones.

She said: “What we were finding was some of our executive vehicles were suddenly being used for other purposes, and it was beginning to slide a little bit.

“The previous policy wasn’t maybe as clear as what we are proposing to have in place.

“What we are trying to do is define the difference between the everyday private hire vehicles doing the shopping runs – and school runs in particular.

“We were having operators approaching us with not necessarily luxury models – they were trying to circumnavigate having the plates on the vehicle and trying to apply the policy that was there for exemption.”

She said under the new policy officers would look at the original purchase price and any executive extras that had been added.

“They’re not your standard run-around vehicles we would usually accept for private hire,” she explained.

The list of conditions to obtain and operate an exempt licence, agreed by the committee, were:
• Vehicles must be under five years old, of a higher specification than standard model vehicles, fall within the executive class and be of a suitable quality and size.

• Written contracts must be in place for no less than 24 hours prior to the commencement of the journey.

• Exempt vehicles cannot undertake standard private hire work (inclusive of
schools’ contracts).

• Door signs will be exempt from having to be displayed on the vehicle but must be in the vehicle at all times and produced on request.

• Vehicles must carry a copy of their private hire vehicle licence for inspection (on request) by any interested party.

• If the rules are broken and the exemption removed, the licence holder will have to display the current standard private-hire licence plates and advance-bookings-only door signs.

• Licence holders must sign to say they accept the rules, and the council can add “any additional conditions deemed necessary”.

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