Preston City Council has introduced a strict dress code for drivers of both hackney and private hire vehicles operating in the area.
Male drivers will be expected to wear long- or short-sleeved shirt and trousers, with the option of knee-length tailored shorts in warmer weather.
Female drivers have the option of a short or long-sleeved blouse or shirt with either trousers or a knee-length skirt – or a dress. They will also be allowed to wear tailored shorts which come down at least as far as the knee.
The new clothing regulations form part of Preston’s new taxi licensing policy, which is being refreshed for the first time since 2013. Other aspects of the new licensing policy include longer bans for those convicted of criminal offences.
Some of the stipulations in the previous dress code for the city’s taxi drivers have been carried over into the latest version – including a ban on flip-flops, sandals without heel straps, and hoodies, shell suits and tracksuits.
Also banned are items of sportswear, such as football or rugby kits including shirts and tracksuits.
There is also an expectation that clothing is kept “in a clean condition, free from holes, rips, or other damage” – and that drivers adhere to good standards of personal hygiene.
The revised standards were the subject of a public consultation last year. And the new rules were approved by the city council just before Christmas.
The city council considered the option of a standard uniform for all drivers but decided not to go down that route, saying it “recognises the positive image that uniforms can create” and encouraged local taxi firms to introduce their own corporate uniforms.
Among consultation responses from the taxi trade, 50% of private hire respondents approved of the new dress code, while 60% of Hackney respondents were in favour.
Cllr David Borrow, Preston City Council cabinet member for planning and regulation, said the door was not closed to anybody with concerns about it. “Extensive consultation with all interested parties took place over a number of months during 2021, plus a full and open public consultation exercise via the council’s website between September 17 and October 22, 2021.
“As a dynamic policy document, it is subject to periodic review and if anybody has any concerns about the policy then we would be happy to listen to any particular representations made via the appropriate channels.”