Councillors in York have told the Government it must look at changes to laws governing taxi and private hire vehicles.
Licensing committee members Rachel Melly and Keith Orrell have written to the Government on behalf of City of York Council seeking what they say is long overdue national reform of taxi and private hire licensing law.
Cllr Melly, Labour spokesperson for transport, is a co-signatory of the letter to the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps.
She says the law is outdated, creating incentives for York-based operators to get licensed in other areas with lower standards.
“Operators licensed elsewhere in the region and who have drivers operating for significant periods in York is one problem, and York-based operators who are circumventing York’s rigorous safeguarding and knowledge test by getting licensed in Wolverhampton is another,” she said.
“In both cases we have drivers operating in York either to lower standards or without sufficient knowledge of our city to offer a proper service.
“The whole purpose of taxi licensing is to ensure the public’s safety, yet in both cases public safety is being compromised by perverse incentives within the current regulatory regime.
“It’s a mess and something that continues to cause significant problems both for public safety and for the livelihoods of York licensed drivers who rightly meet York’s high standards.”
She said there are obvious problems with the current system. “The law is outdated and ambiguous.
“Different solicitors have different interpretations. Councillors recognise and acknowledge the problems this is causing in York, and we want the Government to act so that public confidence can be restored when someone chooses to get a taxi.
“At the moment enforcement action is difficult and many of the reported incidents we are seeing in York are unfairly tarnishing the vast majority of properly trained and licensed York-based drivers.”