Liverpool residents urged to ‘go local’ for taxi safety this Christmas
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Know your driver: Liverpool City Council Licensing Officer Keith Marshall with city-based private hire driver Neil Halpin and cabbie Gary Flack.
ASK for a
That’s the big
message from licensing chiefs with Liverpool City Council this Christmas as
they urge taxi travellers to put safety first and keep it local.
At one of the
busiest times of the year for taxi and private hire journeys across the city,
the council is reminding revellers that they have the right to ask for a
Liverpool driver when they book a journey.
Council’s licensing regulations are among the most rigorous in the country.
Prospective taxi and private hire drivers who apply for a licence are expected
to undertake a high level of extra safety training as well as pass a local
‘knowledge test’ to ensure they know their way around the city.
With its busy night scene, premiership football and a packed calendar of cultural events, Liverpool attracts an army of taxi and private hire drivers from other areas of Merseyside, the North West and other parts of the country, all looking for fares.
Chair of Liverpool City
Council’s Licensing Committee, Cllr Christine Banks said: “Since the deregulation
of the taxi and private hire industry, drivers have been able to get a licence
in one area of the country but work in another. This can mean that the city
council cannot fully hold these drivers to account because they are licensed
with a different local authority.
“The safety of the public
is at the heart of everything we do and we are confident that the city has some
of the most comprehensive taxi and private hire regulations you can find
anywhere. Residents who ask for a Liverpool licensed driver can rest assured
that they are among the best trained anywhere.
“So for safety’s sake this
Christmas, ask for a Liverpool driver.”
Team reports that drivers who are licensed with local authorities as far away
as Wolverhampton regularly turn up in the city looking for work.
regularly patrol the city centre to ensure all taxi and private hire drivers
are playing by the rules. They also take part in proactive undercover campaigns
to crack down on offences such as plying for hire, where a private hire driver
will accept a fare which has not been booked in advance.
There are more
than 4,000 hackney and private hire drivers registered with Liverpool City
Council. At peak times, such as match days thousands of drivers who are
licensed with other local authorities descend on the city.
within their rights to request a driver who is licensed with Liverpool City
Council when they make their booking.
By asking for
Liverpool driver, the passenger can be assured they will get someone who has
passed a local knowledge test, has completed safeguarding training, has undergone
a strict vetting process and drives a vehicle that has been checked by the city
Liverpool drivers will have also had extra training in how to carry wheelchair users and guide dogs. To add to the list of safety measures, the city council has recently introduced a regime of mandatory drug tests for Liverpool drivers to ensure that all those who carry passengers are fit to be behind the wheel.
Tommy McIntyre, from Unite the
Union Taxi Education, added: “We have a large quantity of
licensed drivers and vehicles in Liverpool. Anyone travelling
in a vehicle licensed by Liverpool City Council can be reassured that the
licensed drivers have undertaken a high standard of training. They are all
fully DBS checked and all our vehicles have regular compliance checks to ensure
the vehicles are safe.
“By asking for a Liverpool
licensed driver and vehicle you are asking for a quality, professional and
fully-trained driver. We work closely with Licensing to ensure the training is
of a high standard and that drivers are carrying members of the public around
safely and legal. This safety has now been increased with the introduction of
the drugs policy that we and all our members fully support.”