08 May Nottingham Council Crackdown On Unlicensed Drivers Welcomed
Nottingham City Council are planning to toughen up on illegal minicab drivers who ply for trade without a license in a move which has been welcomed by Zoom.taxi.
The plans for a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to rogue drivers is part of a strategy announced by Nottingham City Council which also confirmed it has joined forces with other local authorities to tackle the problem after it said concerns had been raised about the number of drivers illegally taking passengers without being pre booked.
The other local authorities who have signed the ‘Cross Border Enforcement Protocol’ include Gedling, Rushcliffe, Broxtowe, Bassetlaw and Newark and Sherwood
“Plying for hire is not only illegal it can cause significant problems for the passenger in the case of an accident since the vehicle will not be insured to take passengers,” said Fareed Baloch of zoom.taxi.
“It is a problem everyone in the industry wants to tackle because it is bad news for legitimate companies and drivers and bad news for passengers.
“Zoom.taxi have been calling for a toughening up of license regulations because people acting illegally – whether they are plying for trade or licensed and breaking the law – need to be removed from the industry for everyone’s sake.
“This policy is to be welcomed and the fact that the local authorities are reaching out across administrative borders shows that those behind it know the difficulties of regulation of private hire vehicles and their need to travel in between different counties.”
Council officers will be given the ability to check, challenge and enforce against licensed drivers and taxis from the different region.
In a comment from the City Council, Councillor Toby Neal said, “The joint protocol will allow officers to work together with the aim of keeping the public safe, as well as helping to ensure we have a healthy private hire trade operating in our area.
“Illegally operating private taxis are a real concern but we also need to ensure suitable driver behaviours, safe vehicles that are maintained to high standards and be allowed to manage our streets.
“We will now begin to take a zero tolerance approach to taxis needlessly parking in bus stops, pedestrianised areas or parking dangerously. While we are working hard to support the trade, drivers need to understand their responsibilities.”
According to statistics in the Nottingham Post there are around 1,700 licensed PHV drivers under their administration. But the council have said they have taken the steps because of “thousands” of other drivers coming from neighbouring boroughs, and even Wolverhampton which we revealed had had a 383.3% increase in Private Hire licensed issued as part of the problem of deregulation of the industry.
The officers will also be able to check vehicle standards and remove a license if they are not happy they meet the required safety levels. They can also check the driver is operating legally and remove their license if they are concerned.
Chairman of the local trade union United Private Hire Drivers (Nottingham Branch) said he “welcomed news” that people were working together.
“However my main concern is what the impact will be for legitimate drivers who are also being singled out and targeted. We are allowed to pick up people when we have bookings,” he added.
“I have had members park on double yellow lines when it is not dangerous, we have a grace period [to pick people up] but they do not seem to understand that. We are trying to get a dialogue open with Nottingham City Council.”
Wasim Amin, chairman of Nottingham Licensed Taxi Owners’ and Drivers’ Association, said: “Public safety is our number one priority as when the customer gets in a vehicle they need to be insured and not get overcharged.”