Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing Guidance to Applicants 2015
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Contents Paragraph No. 1. General Information Application for a Driver’s Licence
Proof of eleigibility to work in the U.K.
Disclosure and Barring Service Checks
Renewal of Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver’s Licence
Equality Act 2010
Generic Information for all Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Drivers
Application for a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Licence
Application for a Private Hire Operator Licence
Collective Information for Licensed Drivers and Vehicles
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This guide has been written to advise and assist both new applicants and current holders on how to apply for the various licences. Application forms and conditions attached to licences can also be found on the Councils website: http://www.ambervalley.gov.uk/business/licences-and-street-trading/taxi-(hackney-carriage)-and-privatehire-vehicle-licensing.aspx
Appointments Applicants for licences WITHOUT an appointment will only be seen between 10.00 am and 12 noon Monday to Friday. Persons wishing to visit the council offices outside of these hours should ring the Licensing Section on 01773 841637 to make an appointment. Please be aware that you will NOT be seen if an appointment has not been arranged.
Fees and charges All applications for licences are accepted subject to the following conditions:
Payment of the appropriate fee must accompany the application Fees and charges for vehicle licences are payable in advance. Partial refunds are given on certain vehicle replacements Cheques should be made payable to Amber Valley Borough Council
Policy document Please ensure that reference is made to the Council’s Policy Document, this is a comprehensive document in respect of all aspects of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing. The contents of which should be adhered to at all times.
Application for Driver’s Licence
Requirements Every driver of a hire car or a taxi must be licensed by the Council (Section 46 LGMPA).
The Council cannot grant a licence unless it is satisfied that the applicant: Is a fit and proper person (Section 59 LGMPA) Has held a full UK/EU driving licence for motor cars for at least 2 years (Section 59 LGMPA) Is medically fit to drive (Section 51 and 57 LGMPA)
The Council will not grant a Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers’ Licence to any person who is not able to provide proof of their right to be in the UK and to work here.
Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver’s Licences will be granted for 3 years from the date of grant, subject to the power to grant a licence for a shorter period, should this be appropriate in the circumstances.
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How to make your first application for a drivers’ licence On a first application you must produce: The completed application form The licence fee 2 passport sized photographs A full UK/EU driving licence. You must have held your licence for a period of at least two years A Disclosure and Barring Service Certificate (see section 3) Proof of your right to be in the UK and to work here (see section 2.6) A medical certificate from a doctor unless you hold a current PCV or HGV licence (see section 2.4). Medical certificates must be no more than THREE months old at the time of the application.
Knowledge Test Once the application is complete, an appointment will be made for you to take a knowledge test. To take the test, you must report to the Licensing Section at an arranged time and date, bringing with you a receipt of payment.
2.3.1 Requirements of the Knowledge Test All applicants are required to undertake a written test as to their knowledge of: Local geography The Highway Code The Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Law The Council’s Taxi Policy Basic minimum standards of English The contents of the knowledge test may be amended at any time in line with any changes in legislation or best practice. No one can accompany you whilst you complete the knowledge test and a pass rate of 75% must be attained. No mobile phone, electronic device, documentation or road maps are to be used whilst completing the test. 2.3.2 If a knowledge test is failed If you fail the test at the first attempt, then you may retake the test at a later date. A non-refundable fee will be paid per test undertaken and/or retaken.
Medical Certificate A DVLA Group 2 medical standards medical certificate must be produced when applying for your first licence unless you hold a current PCV or HGV licence. A further medical certificate must be produced upon reaching the age of 50 years and thereafter a medical certificate must be produced every 5 years. Upon reaching the age of 65 years medical certificates are required to be produced every year. The medical can be carried out by a doctor of the applicant’s choice but must be carried out to the DVLA Group 2 medical standards. Medical forms are available on request from the Licensing Section. Medical Certificates must be dated within the past THREE months at the time of application. Licence holders must advise the Licensing Section of any deterioration in their health that may affect their driving capabilities.
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Disability Awareness Training The Equality Act 2010 imposes a duty of those who provide transport services to make reasonable adjustments in order to provide such services for anyone with a disability. This duty specifically extends to those driving taxis and private hire vehicles. All drivers must take a Disability Awareness Training course provided on behalf of the Council. This training must be undertaken within 12 months of the grant of your first Drivers’ licence by the Council. Failure to do so may result in the suspension of your badge until the training has been completed.
Eligibility to work in the U.K. The Immigration Act 2016 amended existing licensing regimes in the UK to seek to prevent illegal working in the private hire vehicle (PHV) and taxi sector. With effect from 1 December 2016 the provisions of the 2016 Act prohibit all licensing authorities across the UK from issuing to anyone who is disqualified by reason of their immigration status and they discharge this duty by conducting immigration checks. The 2016 Act also embeds other immigration safeguards into the existing licensing regimes across the UK. The new provisions mean that driver and operator licences must not be issued to people who are illegally present in the UK, who are not permitted to work, or who are permitted to work but are subject to a condition that prohibits them from holding such a licence. Licensing authorities must discharge this duty by requiring the applicant to submit one of a number of prescribed documents which show that the applicant has permission to be in the UK and undertake work as an operator or a private hire or taxi driver. The check must be performed when the applicant first applies for a licence or first applies to renew or extend their licence whether for the full statutory term or a lesser period on or after 1 December 2016. For those who have limited permission to be in the UK, the licensing authority must repeat the check at each subsequent application to renew or extend the licence until such time as the applicant demonstrates that they are entitled to remain indefinitely in the UK. Where a person’s immigration permission to be in the UK is time limited to less than the statutory length for a driver or operator licence, the licence must be issued for a duration which does not exceed the applicant’s period of permission to be in the UK and work. The Council is under a legal obligation not to issue a licence unless the applicant submits one of a number of prescribed documents which shows that the applicant has permission to be in the UK and undertake work as an operator or PHV or taxi driver. You must produce the original document and the council will retain a copy for their records to prevent having to repeat checks when you next apply to renew or extend your licence.
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Please see below the lists of acceptable documents for right to a licence checks: List A: No immigration restrictions on right to a licence in the UK 1.
A passport showing the holder, or a person named in the passport as the child of the holder, is a British Citizen or a citizen of the UK and Colonies having the right of abode in the UK.
A passport of national identity card showing the holder, or a person named in the passport as the child of the holder, is a national of a European Economic Area country or Switzerland.
A Registration Certificate of Document Certifying Permanent Residence issued by the Home Office to a national of a European Economic Area country or Switzerland.
A Permanent Residence Card issued by the Home Office to the family member of a European Economic Area country or Switzerland.
A current Biometric Immigration Document (Biometric Residence Permit) issued by the Home Office to the holder indicating that the person named is allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK, or has no time limit on their stay in the UK
A current passport endorsed to show that the holder is exempt from immigration control, is allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK, has the right of abode in the UK, or has not time limit on their stay in the UK
A current immigration Status Document issued by the Home Office to the holder with an endorsement indicating that the named person is allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK or has no time limit on their stay in the UK, together with an official document giving the person’s permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a Government agency or a previous employer.
A full birth or adoption certificate issued in the UK which includes the name(s) of at least one of the holder’s parents or adoptive parents, together with an official document giving the person’s permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a Government agency or a previous employer.
A birth or adoption certificate issued in the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or Ireland, together with an official document giving the person’s permanent National Insurance number and their named issued by a Government agency or a previous employer.
A certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen, together with an official document giving the person’s permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a Government agency or a previous employer.
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List B: Immigration restrictions on the right to a licence in the UK. A licence may be issued (subject to statutory limitations) up to the expiry date of the permission to work in the UK. Immigration status will be checked each time an application is made to renew or extend the licence. 1.
A current passport endorsed to show that the holder is allowed to stay in the UK and is currently allowed to do the type of work in question.
A current Biometric Immigration Document (Biometric Residence Permit) issued by the Home Office to the holder which indicates that the named person can currently stay in the UK and is allowed to do the work in question.
A current Residence Card (including an Accession Residence Card or a Derivative Residence Card) issued by the Home Office to a non-European Economic Area national who is a family member of a national of a European Economic Area country or Switzerland or who has a derivative right of residence.
A current Immigration Status Document containing a photograph issued by the Home Office to the holder with a valid endorsement indicating that the named person may stay in the UK, and is allowed to do the type of work in question, together with an official document giving the person’s permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a Government agency or a previous employer.
A certificate of Application issued by the Home Office under regulation 17(3) or 18AS (2) of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006, to a family member of a national of a European Economic Area country or Switzerland stating that the holder is permitted to take employment which is less than 6 months old together with Verification from the Home Office Evidence and Enquiry Unit. The licence may be granted for six months from the date of the Certificate of Application.
A Verification issued by the Home Office Evidence and Enquiry Unit to you, which indicates that the named person may stay in the UK because they have an in time application, appeal or administrative review and which is outstanding. The licence may be issued for six months from the date of the licence decision.
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Previous Convictions and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Checks
Previous Convictions ALL convictions need to be declared in respect of applications for private hire/hackney carriage drivers’ licences and operators’ licences. Taxi drivers are an excepted occupation under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exemption) (Amendment) Order 2002 and so you must declare if you have any convictions. The authority may also consider spent convictions. A criminal record check on a driver is an essential safety measure. Applicants for licences, are therefore, required to disclose all convictions, including those that would previously have been regarded as spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 for other purposes, by completing a Disclosure of Convictions form as part of the application procedure. If you are in any doubt as to whether a licence can be granted, you can get advice (in confidence) from the Licensing Office. The Act was revised in March 2014 following the implementation of changes to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act included in the Legal Aid and Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. Please see the period of time between the date of conviction and the time the offences are regarded as “spent”. Sentence
Under 6 month’s imprisonment
6 months imprisonment and over but under 2½ years
Over 2½ years’ imprisonment but less than 4 years
More than 4 years imprisonment
Spent once paid in full
Probation, Supervision, Care Order, Conditional Discharge or Bind Over
Spent at the end of the order
Hospital Orders (with or without a restriction order)
Spent at the end of the order
Period of disqualification
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Generally, if the offence was committed whilst the offender was 17 years of age or less, the above periods are halved. The periods of time, which must elapse in other cases before the conviction becomes “spent” vary considerably according to the nature of the offence and other circumstances. The commission of a further offence during the rehabilitation period, may for example, extend the rehabilitation period.
Disclosure and Barring Service procedure The Council is empowered by law to have sight of each applicant’s Disclosure and Barring Service Certificate. Applications for a Disclosure and Barring Service Certificate can be made via Ripley CVS, 35 Market Place, Ripley, DE5 3HA. Please telephone 01773 512076 to make an appointment. A new licence and badge will NOT be issued until a certificate is received by DBS. The Council will consider each application on its own merits once the application form and supporting documents are complete. As the safety of the general public using taxis, is of paramount importance to the Council, before an application for grant of a driver’s licence will be considered, the applicant must provide a current (less than one month old) Disclosure and Barring Service Certificate. A Disclosure and Barring Service Certificate must be submitted to the Council every third year upon application for the renewal of your badge. The Council reserves the right to request additional disclosures at any time if it is considered necessary to ensure the protection of the public.
Update Service After obtaining your Disclosure and Barring Service Certificate you can save money on any future checks by registering on the update service, any further disclosures can then be obtained instantly. A fee of £13 per year is charged for this service and further detailed information can be found at www.gov.uk/dbsupdate-service.
Licensed drivers are obliged to notify the Council, verbally within 72 hours followed by written notification within 7 days of any criminal convictions. Where criminal records are not being checked every 12 months, it is clearly more important that this requirement is strictly adhered to and accordingly any breaches of this requirement will immediately become the subject of an interview with the Licensing Manager and possible referral to the Licensing Board/Panel to confirm whether the “fit and proper person” criteria still applies.
The Council is bound by rules of confidentiality and will not divulge information obtained to any third parties. The applicant will receive the Disclosure and Barring Service Certificate to their home address, and the certificate must be produced to the Council prior to the badge being issued.
Failure to disclose conviction The failure to declare a conviction or other material fact may result in the immediate suspension of your licence.
Foreign nationals and applicants who have lived abroad Any foreign national or applicant who has lived abroad for six continuous months or more within the past five years will be required to produce a document from the relevant Government or Embassy of their country of origin, or last place of residence if more appropriate, which provides a comprehensive criminal record. This document must provide contact details of the Embassy or Government in order that officers can verify its authenticity. Page | 9
All costs in respect of this documentation will be borne by the applicant. The DBS Certificate.
letter is in addition to the
Renewal of Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver’s Licence
You must apply for renewal while the existing licence is still inforce. The Council will endeavour to remind holders of driver’s licences to renew their licences two to three months prior to their expiry. However, not having received a reminder will not be accepted as a reason for non-renewal of licences. It is the holder’s responsibility to ensure that their licence is renewed within the time limits.
To ensure that all documentation is received back from the Council it is important that all applications for renewal are made six/eight weeks prior to the expiry of the current licence.
Failure to renew/produce all the required documentation on time will result in you being unable to drive. 5.3
How to renew a drivers’ licence To renew your drivers’ licence you must produce the following documentation: The completed renewal application form The licence fee 2 passport-sized photographs A full UK/EU driver’s licence A Disclosure and Barring Service Enhanced Certificate (no more than one month old at the time it is produced to the Council). Completed DVLA mandate or code to obtain the mandate electronically A medical certificate from a doctor where applicable (no more than three months old at the time it is produced to the Council). Proof of completion of your Disability Awareness Training (first renewal only) Proof of right to live/work in the UK (unless previously produced at initial grant of your licence)
Equality Act 2010
Passengers in wheelchairs Section 165 of the Equality Act 2010 places the following duties on drivers of designated wheelchair accessible vehicles. These include:
To carry the passenger while in the wheelchair Not to make any additional charge for doing so If the passenger chooses to sit in a passenger sea, to carry the wheelchair To take such steps as are necessary to ensure that the passenger is carried in safety and reasonable comfort To give the passengers such mobility assistance as is reasonably required.
Some drivers may have a medical condition or a disability or physical condition which makes it impossible or unreasonable difficult for them to provide the sort of physical assistance which these duties require. If this is the case you can apply to the Council for a Notice of Exemption.
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Guide dogs in taxis The Equality Act 2010, sections 169(4)(b), 173(1) and 207(4)(a) places a duty on taxi/private hire vehicle drivers to carry guide, hearing and other assistance dogs accompanying disabled people in their licensed vehicles and to do so without charge. It is an offence for the driver to refuse to carry such animals unless the Council has issued the driver with a Notice of Exemption. A Notice of Exemption will only be issued on medical grounds, following notification from the driver’s doctor giving reasons why the driver should be exempt. Drivers can face a fine of up to £1,000 if they do not comply with either of the above provisions under the Equality Act 2010.
Important Information for all Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Drivers
Convictions Where licensed drivers commit offences, leading to conviction, it is important in the interests of consistency and transparency that a procedure should be in place to consider what effect this should have on their hackney or private hire driver’s licence. Drivers, who are convicted of any offence during the currency of their hackney or private hire driver’s licence, must disclose the conviction and the penalty involved to the Council within 7 days. For these purposes, a fixed penalty motoring offence amounts to a conviction. Please see Appendix A to the Taxi Policy for guidance in respect of criminal convictions.
Refusal to accept a booking Please note it is an offence (without reasonable excuse) to refuse to carry any passenger.
Drivers’ Badge All drivers must wear the badge provided when acting as a licensed driver, in a position so as to be plainly visible (Section 54 LGMPA). The badge need not be worn when the vehicle is being used in connection with a wedding or a funeral. On revocation or suspension of the driver’s licence, the badge must be returned to the Council on demand (Section 61 LGMPA)
Suspension and revocation of drivers’ licence The Council may suspend, revoke or refuse to renew a licence on the following grounds. The commission of an offence involving dishonesty, indecency or violence The commission of an offence (under the LGMPA) Any other reasonable cause (Section 61 LGMPA) A licence may be suspended by an authorised officer or Police Constable if he considers the vehicle unfit (Section 68 LGMPA)
Applications for Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Licences
Introduction There is no fixed limit to the number of taxi licences issued by Amber Valley Borough Council. An authorised officer, under powers delegated by the Council, considers each application for a new licence individually. These powers enable the authorised officer to grant taxi/private hire vehicle licences where the vehicle fulfils the basic qualifications. Page | 11
You will be expected to demonstrate either to the appropriate officer, or to the Committee (as applicable), your commitment/ability to provide a satisfactory service to the travelling public.
How to make your first application to licence a vehicle as a private hire vehicle/hackney carriage The following documentation must be submitted: The completed application form Insurance covering public hire or private hire as appropriate The test fee MOT Test Certificate The vehicle registration document. If the vehicle registration document is not available, you must produce proof of purchase of the vehicle. You must, however, produce the vehicle registration document to the Council within 28 days or the vehicle licence may be suspended. Arrangements will be made, through the licensing officer, for a vehicle to undertake a roadworthy test at the Council’s approved testing station. After the satisfactory completion of the test a vehicle licence and plate will be issued. The licence will cover a fixed date twelve-month period. Please note if you cancel a test without giving a minimum of 48 hours’ notice (working week) a cancellation fee will be charged.
Re-tests Re-test appointments can only be booked through the licensing section and the re-test fee must be paid in advance. You must contact the licensing section for the necessary arrangements to be made. Please note if you cancel a re-test without giving a minimum of 48 hours’ notice (working week) a cancellation fee will be charged.
Changing the vehicle If you change your vehicle, an application can be made to transfer the plate from the old vehicle to the new vehicle. Applications should be made to the Licensing Section. You will need to licence the new vehicle (see instructions in paragraph 6.2 for how to make your fist application to licence a vehicle). You may be entitled to a partial refund of the licence fee in respect of the old vehicle.
Age of Vehicles Vehicles, irrespective of age, are tested twice a year. No fees are required for mid-term tests (unless the vehicle fails its test and a re-test is required). Only vehicles under the age of 5 years can be licensed for the first time. A vehicle will be licensed for 12 months on the renewal date prior to the vehicle reaching 10 years old. The vehicle must then come off the fleet unless in the opinion of an authorised officer and/or the Council’s testing centre, the vehicle is still considered to be in an exceptionally good condition and is still suitable for use as a Taxi/Private Hire Vehicle, an extension period of 12 months may be granted. If a further extension beyond this period is required then application must be made in writing and the request will be determined by the Licensing Board. Please ensure sufficient time is given in order that your request can be heard prior to the expiry of your licence. It is advisable to write to the council at least four months prior to the expiry of your licence. The Council will not issue or renew a licence in respect of a vehicle unless the Vehicle Registration Document has been produced to the Council.
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Transfer of ownership If you wish to transfer your interest in a vehicle, you will need to notify the licensing office. The application to transfer must be accompanied by a valid certificate of insurance and the vehicle registration document. If the vehicle registration document is not available, proof of purchase of the vehicle must be produced. The vehicle registration document must be produced to the Council within 28 days or the vehicle licence may be suspended. If everything is in order, the transfer can be affected. If the vehicle is disposed of then the vehicle licence and plates must be returned to the Council within 7 days.
Name of company The Council must be satisfied that the proposed name of the applicant’s company is suitable and does not conflict with existing licensed operators.
Immediate suspension This means that your vehicle cannot be used under any circumstances as a licensed vehicle until it has been re-examined and the suspension notice lifted by the external authority who suspended the licence (e.g. VOSA, Police etc). If the Council’s Enforcement Officer suspends the vehicle, it must not be used under any circumstances as a licensed vehicle until it has been re-examined and the Council’s Testing Station or the Enforcement Officer lifts the suspension notice. The proprietor must inform the Council’s Licensing Section immediately (or at the first available opportunity if outside office hours) to inform the section that the vehicle has been examined at the testing station and the tester confirms that the suspension can be lifted. When a vehicle is ready to be re-examined, an appointment may be made for the examination of the vehicle. The test will be subject to the normal scale of charges. When a vehicle passes the test, the tester will issue a pass certificate.
Private Hire Operator Licence
A Private Hire Operator Licence is required in order to take bookings and dispatch private hire vehicles to customers. Licences are issued to an individual(s) and are specific for the address of a licensed private hire office. The licences are not transferable to individuals or companies or to an alternative address. All bookings taken for private hire vehicles must be done through a licensed private hire operator booking office, known as the operating base. Private Hire Operators can operate from either home addresses or public offices; however tenants must obtain permission from their landlords. No licence will be issued until consent has been received from the planning authority that the operation of the business from the premises is acceptable. A Private Hire Operator licensed by Amber Valley Borough Council can only use drivers and vehicles licensed by Amber Valley Borough Council.
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How to apply The following documentation must be submitted:
The completed application form Payment of the appropriate fee Basic Criminal Record Disclosure
If you are a registered driver in Amber Valley it will not be necessary to produce an additional Basic Criminal Disclosure. The Council will take into account the Enhanced Disclosure Certificate produced at the renewal of your driver’s badge for your Operator’s Licence.
Renewal of a Private Hire Operator Licence All Private Hire Operator Licences are issued for a period of 5 years. The renewal application must be submitted to the licensing section prior to the expiry of the existing licence or the licence will lapse. If an operator continues to take bookings without a licence they are committing an offence. It is the responsibility of the operator to ensure that they have a valid licence in place at all times.
Collective Information for Licensed Drivers and Vehicles Loss or theft of drivers’ badges and vehicle plates Loss or theft of licences, drivers’ badges, or vehicle plates should be reported immediately to the Council. A replacement licence, badge or plate will be issued once you have paid the appropriate fee. You will be required to confirm to us, in writing, that the plate has been lost and reported to the police before a replacement will be issued.
Enforcement/vehicle spot fitness checks To encourage responsible hackney carriage/private hire businesses, the Council will operate a firm but fair disciplinary and enforcement regime. With a view to balancing the promotion of public safety with the need to permit individuals to safeguard their livelihood without due interference the Council will only intervene where it is necessary and proportionate to do so. The Council will liaise with other bodies in carrying out its enforcement procedures, including officers of other Local Authorities, Police and VOSA. From time to time your vehicle may be subject to a spot check. The spot check will always be carried out by one of the Council’s enforcement officers, the police or by one of the Council’s authorised testers, in the presence of the enforcement officer. Spot checks are normally carried out at the roadside. If your vehicle does not pass the spot test, then your vehicle licence may be suspended and your plate may be removed.
10.3 Fares When determining the level of fares, consideration will be given to what it is reasonable to expect the travelling public to pay as well as the need to give the drivers an incentive to provide a cost-effective service at the times it is needed. In reviewing the fares tariff the Council and trade will consult and follow the appropriate procedures details in the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.
10.4 National Flags On the occasion of major events (e.g. a world cup, coronation, royal wedding etc.) a maximum of one flag may be flown on a licensed vehicle. The flag must be of a size and manufacture that will not obstruct the driver’s view in any way, nor endanger the safety of other road users or pedestrians. All flags are flown at the proprietor’s risk and must not be offensive to others.
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