Legal action warning for Wolverhampton black cab drivers not offering contactless payments

The council approved the mandatory facility requirement for contactless card payments in all Hackney transport vehicles on January 19 this year.

Although most owners and drivers have already complied with the ruling, Licensing Manager Greg Bickerdike said a few have yet to provide machines that allow customers to pay by contactless methods.

Mr Bickerdike said the council had received several customer complaints that the service was not offered or that attempts had been made to charge a fee for using debit or credit cards.

In a report to the council’s regulatory committee, he said: ‘It is proposed that the Hackney transport vehicle registration requirements be updated. This will facilitate enforcement against offending owners.

“It is illegal to impose surcharges on customers for the use of credit, debit or charge cards, electronic payment services such as PayPal or similar cardless methods such as mobile phones.

“Customers should not be charged more than the amount displayed on the meter or the agreed rate. The pre-agreed rate cannot include additional charges for using a debit or credit card payment. This does not apply to transactions made with a corporate or professional credit card.

“As all of Wolverhampton’s licensed Hackney cars are wheelchair accessible, this leads to a higher proportion of disabled people using them. Disabled people are vulnerable to contagious disease and the contactless payment requirement has been introduced on recommendation from Public Health,” he added.

The council is also about to approve a consultation on the requirements and guidelines for carriage licenses and private hire.

Mr Bickerdike said the Department for Transport (DfT) last consulted on ‘best practice guides’ between March and June this year. The latest consultation will also consider the licensing function for South Staffordshire Council, which is delegated to Wolverhampton.

In another report he added: ‘The council has a duty to protect the general public from harm when using carriages or private hire vehicles. To do this, the board must ensure that all drivers and operators are “fit and proper” persons.

“Owners, drivers and operators are required to provide a written framework to enable employees and advisors to make fair and consistent decisions when assessing the suitability of license applicants.

“The guidelines also apply to existing drivers or businesses if they breach conditions, are convicted/cautioned for relevant offenses or behave in a manner inconsistent with what is expected of a license holder,” adds the report.

The regulatory committee will discuss the approval of both issues next Thursday.

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