CITY council officers took action against more than 1,700 taxi, private hire and other drivers last year in a move to enforce licensing laws and ensure public safety.
Licensing teams worked alongside Merseyside Police to crackdown on 1,733 drivers who broke the rules. The majority of those were from Liverpool but drivers from as far away as Wigan, Burnley, Wolverhampton and Thameside were also caught in the year-long campaign.
In total, 323 drivers were given written warnings for a variety of offences including failing to wear a badge, using an unlicensed vehicle and failing to ensure the safety of passengers.
The council issued fines to 1,185 drivers mainly of private vehicles, who illegally parked on taxi ranks – a particular concern for the city’s Hackney Carriage drivers.
Throughout 2018, the licensing team took part in an ongoing operation to crack down on private hire drivers plying for hire and hackney carriage drivers cherry picking fares. Plying for hire without a licence means accepting a fare which has not been pre-booked through an operator, which can invalidate the insurance for the journey. Whilst cherry picking refers to hackney carriage drivers who overinflate fares to journeys both inside and outside the Liverpool boundary.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, Cllr James Noakes, said: “As a council, we are committed to protecting the public and making transport around our city as safe as we can.
“People who live or work in Liverpool or come to the city for entertainment should have the reassurance that they can rely on taxi and private hire trade to provide a fair service that abides by the rules. In Liverpool, the vast majority of our taxi and private hire drivers are responsible, play by the rules and share our concerns for public safety. As these figures show, where we find evidence of wrongdoing we will not hesitate in taking action.”
“We have also listened to the concerns of the city’s taxi trade, particularly around parking on taxi-stands. We work closely with them and we have taken action.
“The end of year figures are also a testament to the hard work and dedication of the city council’s licensing team who are out and about at all hours of the day ensuring the streets of our city are safe.”
During the year, 33 private hire drivers were caught plying for hire, the vast majority of these were prosecuted by the council. Whilst the council took court action against two hackney carriage drivers for taking and demanding more than the prescribed fare and failing to engage the taxi meter, 18 advisory notices in relation to cherry picking were also issued.
In terms of vehicle safety, in December alone council officers ordered 21 cars off the road and issued 30 more with defect notices.
For more information about taxi licensing issues in Liverpool, visit the city council’s website: www.liverpool.gov.uk and search for ‘taxi licensing’.