By Peter Stevenson
POLICE will begin cautioning motorists who own taxis, ‘A’ category trucks and vans, and motorcycles and mopeds that have not placed new licence plates on their vehicles by December 3.
Owners of passenger cars are not obliged to change their plates but can do so if they wish. They need to be changed if they are damaged or need replacing.
Taxi drivers had asked for the new plates as a requirement to help put an end to counterfeiting by illegal cabbies, something which is rife according to transport minister Tasos Mitsopoulos.
As far as trucks and vans are concerned, he said ‘A’ licence trucks and vans would carry different plates to ‘B’ licenced ones in order to help authorities differentiate between the two. This is why they must all be changed, he said.
“The ‘A’ licence trucks are allowed to carry all goods, usually transporting products for different companies, while ‘B’ licence trucks and vans are only allowed to transport goods belonging to the company that owns the vehicle,” Mitsopoulos said.
In reference to motorcycles, the minister said the police had asked that they all carry new plates because many owners had put tiny, illegible plates on their bikes. “High powered motorbikes often carry small or no plates at all and so for safety purposes it was decided that they should also carry the new European standard plates,” the minister said.
Places for motorcycles and mopeds are white and fitted to the rear only. Those fitted on taxis are yellow and for hire cars they are red. Taxis will no longer carry the ‘T’ prefix and hire cars the ‘Z’.
The new plates will be in the same format as previous ones but between the letters on the left and the numbers on the right, there will be a two digit number signifying the month of registration and below that, a smaller two digit number for the year of registration.
Front and rear plates will both be white for new saloon cars as opposed to white in the front and yellow on the rear. The size of the plate will depend on the size of the vehicle and plates can only be issued by shops licensed by the ministry’s Road Transport Department (RTD).
The new plates were introduced in June and all newly-registered vehicles will be fitted with the new plates.