Councils combine to improve taxi safety

Article dated Wednesday Sep 5, 2018 at 09:34 AM

Five West Yorkshire local authorities and York have agreed to a joint enforcement partnership scheme which will make it more difficult for taxi and private hire drivers to break the law.

Until now if one of the authorities checked a private hire or Hackney Carriage taxi licensed by another authority there was little they could do to stop it being driven illegally or unsafely.  

Thanks to this partnership approach, if a driver is found to be carrying out illegal activities in any of the six areas, appropriate action may be taken against them by the authority they are working in at the time.

The cross border enforcement is the first of many projects the six authorities – Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Kirklees, Calderdale and York - are working on to support the taxi and private hire trades and improve the safety and comfort of the travelling public

The range of offences covered include:

  • driving without insurance
  • picking up passengers on the street who haven’t pre-booked
  • driving with vehicle defects such as defective brake lights or bald tyres
  • displaying incorrect signs so that it is not clear the vehicle is a taxi
  • smoking whilst sat in the taxi
  • driving without the correct licence.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: "When you get in a private hire vehicle or taxi you should be confident that the vehicle is safe, well maintained and that the driver is licensed, insured and trustworthy.

"The only way to guarantee that is to have a strict set of rules that are regularly enforced. 

"It makes absolute sense to carry out cross border enforcement – when we travel by private hire or taxi we do not restrict our journeys to one area, so licensing authorities shouldn't restrict how we enforce the rules around driving those vehicles. 

"It is worth saying that the majority of taxi and private hire drivers and their vehicles are safe and comply with the law.

"For them this change will have no impact. It is those who believe that the law doesn’t apply to them, who selfishly drive without considering the safety of their passengers, who will notice a change."

The six authorities will shortly be consulting on policies to improve and enhance driver training as well as implementing a consistent policy to determine whether drivers are suitable to hold a licence.

The policies will be in line with national guidance from the Institute of Licensing.

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