23 May Zoom.taxi welcomes Times investigation into licensing loopholes
Zoom.taxi has welcomed the investigation by The Times into the problems with councils undertaking insufficient checks on drivers before issuing licenses.
The paper now joins organisations like zoom.taxi, the Local Government Association and the Suzy Lamplugh Trust in calling for stricter licensing laws, accusing councils of ‘putting public safety at risk by handing out thousands of licenses to taxi drivers from across the country while in some cases failing to monitor criminal records.’
As we reported back in October last year, Wolverhampton Council have been exploiting a legal loophole allowing them to issue licenses to people from all over the country for the easier and cheaper tests.
“The highlighting of this issue by The Times can only be a positive step for those of us who have been campaigning for stricter rules for licensing,” said Fareed Baloch of zoom.taxi.
In England outside London, the total number of driver licenses increased by only 10.7% compared to 383.3% in Wolverhampton with the total number of drivers now registered standing at 3772, according to the council’s figures.
The impact is being felt outside Wolverhampton, with council bosses in Coventry saying there has been a staggering number of Uber drivers registered with WCC operating in their area.
According to a freedom of information act request, of the 6,395 drivers issued with private hire licenses, 5,319 live elsewhere.
“In the private hire industry we have an opportunity to act as eyes where others cannot and that is why there are two changes to current legislation which, whilst cannot stop such criminal behaviour from happening, can at least help to prevent it,” added Mr Baloch.
“Andrew Norfolk’s exposure of the Rotherham CSE scandal made changes happen and I hope that this new spotlight on the concerns we have been raising will mean that the deregulation which has come at the expense of safety can be addressed by politicians.”