Where’s my taxi?

Customers will know how far away their taxi is with a new initiative being launched by west London taxi firm Parker Car Service. The new phone tracking system allows customers to pinpoint the whereabouts of their taxi on their mobile phone using Google maps.

“Providing better information is part of the service we offer,” said Joe Polley, owner of Parker Car Service. “It helps to provide reassurance to customers if they can see where their taxi is. It might also allow them to work out whether they have time for another pint!”

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Muted response to ‘Election’ budget

Reaction to Chancellor Alistair Darling’s final budget before the election has been muted, with analysts branding it “political budget” with no draconian measures or big giveaways.

Instead of whacking 3p a litre on fuel duty on April 1, as planned, Darling announced the rise would be phased in over several months, with 1p added on April 1, a further 1p added on October 1 and a third penny added on January 1, 2011. But fleet operators believed the impact of the rise would be negligible against a backdrop of rapid fuel price rises.

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Councils must register small limos for private hire, says DfT

Local authorities should not refuse to licence stretch limousines with fewer than nine seats as Private Hire vehicles – and if they do, they could be taken to court by the operator. But only in exceptional circumstances should such vehicles be registered as PSVs. These key guidelines have been issued by the Department for Transport as part of new rules for licensing of stretch limos.

The DfT said stretch limos with less than nine seats “have a legitimate role to play in the private hire trade, meeting a public demand” and therefore should be licensed. In its newly published guide, ‘Taxi and Private Hire Licensing: Best Practice Guidance’, the DfT states: “The Department’s view is that it is not a legitimate course of action for licensing authorities to adopt policies that exclude limousines as a matter of principle and that any authorities which do adopt such practices are leaving themselves open to legal challenge.

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Lexus facelifts LS600h hybrid limo

PD-Lexus-LS600hLexus has facelifted its LS600h hybrid limousine, giving the car a new front grille and front and rear bumper design, signature LED sidelights and turn indicator lamps integrated in the door mirrors. The range of exterior colours has been revised, including the introduction of a new shade, Crystal Sapphire.

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Stretching the point

Much wailing and gnashing of teeth, once again, on the vexed question of stretch limousine licensing. Apparently “thousands” of businesses could go to the wall – because the Department for Transport won’t license an 8-seater stretch as a PSV. 

That’s the view of the NLCA, which seems intent on whipping up its members into a frenzy over this, frankly, non-issue. Does an eight-seater really need to be licensed as a PSV? Surely the solution is simply to license it as a Private Hire vehicle. Then you can operate without needing an Operator’s Licence, or having to dry-hire the vehicle without a driver.

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