Erewash cabbies in row with council over ‘tinted’ taxi windows

Taxi rank, Chesterfield
Taxi rank, Chesterfield

Taxi drivers in Erewash have launched a petition to voice ‘concerns and discontent’ over a stringent policy they say is leaving drivers thousands of pounds out of pocket.

Erewash Borough Council has a rule for private and public hire taxis that means a minimum of 70 per cent of light should be allowed through vehicle windows.

This almost presents a total ban on tinted windows.

The authority says this policy is to protect the safety of passengers, particularly children and the vulnerable.

However,  several cabbies, 48 in total, have lodged a petition which calls on the council to axe the restrictions on tinted windows.

The petition states that the policy is often overlooked and drivers are issued licenses for vehicles with tinted windows, with the intention to run them for the maximum period of 10 years – at which point the driver must obtain a new vehicle.

However, the petitioning cabbies state that many of these drivers have been told retrospectively about the tinted window policy, which ‘in some cases can cost [them] up to £4,000’.

The petition states: “In this current financial climate this is impossible for drivers to afford.”

It continues to say: “A lot of drivers are finding it harder purchasing certain cars as they come with tints fitted as standard by the manufacturer. As an example, a driver recently purchased a new car which cost him £1,000 more than the equivalent model which had tinted windows. This seems to be the drivers picking up the cost.

“We are asking the council to allow any new vehicles to be licensed that have manufacturers tinted windows fitted.”

The petition also states that taxis from other council areas often pick up and drop off passengers within Erewash, some of which are fitted with tinted windows due to differing policies between authorities.

The petitioning cabbies feel that it is unfair.

Erewash Borough Council says that because the cabbies who signed the petition only represent 19 per cent of all those in the area – with 257 Hackney and private hire drivers in total – that it is ‘inappropriate’ to consider a policy change without consulting the remaining members who did not sign.

Council officers have now sent the petition to all licensed drivers in Erewash to ask for comments, along with the policy, county council and the Society of Motor Manufacturers.

On Thursday, October 4, borough councillors will decide on whether to consider these further responses, make a decision on the spot or request that further comments are requested from other sources.