Glasgow drivers force council rethink on plans to bring back seven-year age limit

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Plans to reintroduce a seven-year age limit on private hire cars in Glasgow have been postponed. The rule was suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic, but drivers say ongoing problems mean it should not be brought back.

The private hire drivers warn that hundreds of could be forced off the road if the seven-year age limit is reimposed.

Following representations from trade bodies, the council agreed to postpone the decision until the drivers’ views had been properly heard.

Eddie Grice of the Scottish Private Hire Association, told councillors the reintroduction of the age limit would “negatively impact” drivers’ finances. And would have public safety implications if drivers were forced to work longer hours to make ends meet.

He added that the increased cost of newer cars and delays in supply meant many drivers would not be able to comply. He said: “Private hire drivers are facing a cost-of-living crisis. We are dealing with a cost-of-fuel crisis. We are experiencing ever-increasing vehicle purchase prices.”

“All this coming as we are still in the mode of rebuilding from the negative effects of the pandemic. Reintroducing a seven-year age limit will have a profoundly negative effect on private hire drivers.”

The policy, introduced in 2006, states a vehicle must not be more than five years old when first registered with the council and, at seven years old, vehicles must be “taken out of service and replaced”. But some drivers have called for the age limit to be lifted to at least 10 years.

Cllr Alex Wilson, the licensing committee chairman, said: “I think it is only fair that they have a proper chance to provide representation to the committee so we can discuss that at length.”

Grice said the postponement was a “class act” by the council. “This isn’t just a stay of execution for the many drivers and vehicle owners that this policy will negatively affect,” he said. “It is also a huge win for democracy and for workforce organising.” A date has yet to be set for the future hearing.