RULES on the age of taxi vehicles and regulations for drivers have been temporarily relaxed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bury Council said it had reacted to lockdown by trying to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers by introducing temporary measures which will now be extended.

The measures include postponing of new applications for taxi drivers and suspending the requirement for medical examinations by allowing drivers to self-certify medical fitness.

The council are also issuing of 12-month taxi licences instead of the normal three-year badge so that the costs to drivers would reduce from £180 to £60.

Another measure to react to the changing circumstances was to suspend the ‘knowledge test’ for drivers until further notice due to ‘guidelines on safe working practices which affect licensing staff and the need to implement

social distancing measures for drivers attending for the test’.

Members of Bury’s licensing and safety panel agreed to extend the measures as the virus crisis continues.

A report from Donna Ball, the executive director of operations at Bury Council, also recommended that the rule forbidding vehicles more than 10 years old being used for taxis in the borough be relaxed.

The report, states: “The licensing service would like members to consider a temporary relaxation of the age policy for those hackney carriage and private hire vehicles that will not comply with the 10 year age policy regime

having been granted an extension to their vehicle licence during the Covid 19 pandemic.

“The decision to allow a relaxation would mean that those vehicles will not be required to satisfy that test until the next full renewal.

“This will affect vehicles being tested up until June 30, 2021.”

Chair of the panel, Cllr Sandra Walmsley, said: “These measures were originally put in to respond to the restrictions and to aid to the authority and drivers.

“Given where we are and with this week’s announcement it’s the right thing to do to extend these measures.”

The licensing panel voted unanimously to extend the changes.

During the meeting, Michael Bridge, the borough’s licensing manager also told members of the panel that two Bury taxi drivers had recently had their licence to operate revoked after being convicted of criminal offences.