Tuesday, 17 June 2014

New taxi licensing regualtions will undermine public safety in Hyndburn.

Next Monday Parliament will be discussing and voting on the De Regulation Bill and in particular the deregulation of taxi licensing.

The days of a safety vetted, Council enforced Taxi and Private Hire services are under threat if the amendments go through.

Currently the law limits private hire vehicles to operate and take passengers booked from within the borough in which they are licensed. These laws are set to be abolished under the new Bill which has been rushed through with little consultation ‘under the radar’.

Because local councils cannot take enforcement action against taxis licensed in other areas this free for all will only increase the number of taxis in Hyndburn from authorities who take a 'light touch' approach' to condition, age and mileage of a vehicle, and the licensing of drivers.

I have received representation form Hyndburn's Labour Councillors and Councillor Chris Fisher who is a former chair of taxi licensing committee has written to me on the matter with his concerns.

Next Monday I will be voting against these changes.

Trade union Unite says
“The proposals today have not been properly deliberated by the trade and the time scale has not allowed for any consultation to take place to form a response.

We are firmly against these proposals being attached to the De-Regulation bill as we believe that this will firmly endanger the safety of the travelling public. They will lose their right to chose which operator they wish to travel with because they call operator A who is their preferred choice and operator B turns up. The customer may have experienced a whole number of problems with the other operator. Surely they call a specific operator as they feel the operator is both reliable and safe to travel with. If they wanted to travel with another operator why didn't they call them.

By being able to pass jobs from one operator to another, the role of the local licensing enforcement would almost be impossible due the amount of different cars from other areas in their authority due to fares being passed from one company to another”

Hyndburn Cllr Chris Fisher, Ex chair of the Taxi and Private hire judicial committee
says -
“I think I can speak for all Labour Councillors in Hyndburn on this subject and we are all appalled and outraged by how this bill is being rushed through little regard to enforcement provisions and public safety.

This goes to show that Tory MP’s in Westminster have no idea or care about anything outside of London and the further away from the capital the the more . The implications of this Bill to the traveling publics safety is outrageous.

It will mean that if you book a ride from your chosen trusted firm in Hyndburn, you might find a Blackburn, Burnley or even a Leeds registered private hire pulling up at your door. For all we know these alien private hire and hackney vehicles from other authorities could potentially be bogus or driven by an illegal driver, and local enforcement teams have no powers to check them meaning the public would never know if they legal and safe to use.”

These alien private hire and hackney vehicles from other authorities could be bogus or driven by an illegal driver, and local enforcement teams have no powers to check them meaning the public would never know if they legal and safe to use.”

The public unaware of this will just get in. Do you know what a Leeds private hire looks like? Neither do I, however don’t think for one minute I am exaggerating about a Leeds PHV turning up on your door. Look what happened when the law changed allowing hackneys to roam the country as Private hire vehicles. The plague of Rossendale Hackneys spread rapidly. Over 2000 Rossendale registered hackneys can be seen operating as Private hire, in nearly every borough in the UK.

So how does this effect Hyndburn residents. In a nutshell it means that any issues or complaints arising while using a vehicle from another area will need to be directed to the licensing authority who licensed it, even if the individual concerned took an A-B journey within Hyndburn.
Clearly this is going to be confusing and potentially dangerous to the traveling public.”

Dear Graham
I think I can speak for all Labour councillors at Hyndburn on this subject and we are all appalled and outraged by how this bill is being rushed through with little consultation and will further frustrate out limited enforcement powers.  It is clear the Tory MP’s in Westminster who proposed these points in the bill have no idea or care about anything outside of London or the implications to the traveling public safety.

However it will mean that if you book a ride from your chosen trusted firm in Hyndburn, you might find a Blackburn, Burnley or even a Leeds registered private hire pulling up at your door.  The public unaware will just get in. Do you know what a Leeds private hire looks like?

I don’t for all we know It could even be a fake taxi driven by a criminal. Worst of all Hyndburn enforcement officers are not legally allowed to pull them over and check they are legitimate and safe.

Any issues arising while using a vehicle from another area will need to be directed to that licensing authority. Clearly this is going to be confusing, misleading and potentially dangerous to the traveling public.

As you are aware, all licensing authorities have a statutory duty to act in the interests of public safety through enforcement activities, checking vehicles for roadworthiness and vetting the drivers.

Why on earth could they not wait for the law commission’s recommendations to be included, at the very least this would have given extra powers to our enforcement officers to stop, fine and enforce on out of town vehicles, basically do their job and protect our traveling public

Sincerely
Cllr Chris Fisher
Hyndburn