Cabbies ‘must speak English’ after shake-up Rules to stem tide of taxi drivers flooding into city from other areas
ALL taxi and private hire drivers in Birmingham should be able to speak and write in English, new rules propose.
Their vehicles should also have CCTV fitted and regular criminal record checks should be made.
These were among a number of ideas which will also tackle the city’s problem of being “flooded” by drivers licensed from other areas, over whom the council has no jurisdiction.
A list of more than 30 recommendations has been published by a gov- ernment group set up by the Department for Transport last year.
It has called for an urgent review into the relevant legislation, some of which is more than 100 years old and was written before the car was invented.
Even the newer laws were enshrined before the arrival of the internet and mobile phones, both of which have re-shaped the taxi industry in recent years via the likes of hailing apps such as Uber.
Some of the key recommendations are:
All licensed vehicles must be fitted with CCTV with audio and visual capability; All drivers must be able to speak and write in English; Drivers must be subjected to Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks every six months;
Taxis and private hire vehicles can only operate in the area they are licensed. However, they are free to obtain multiple licences;
Council officers should have powers to carry out checks on any driver regardless of where they have been licensed and pursue enforcement action for any breaches.
Further suggestions include establishing a national database of drivers, allowing councils to cap the number of licences they hand out, mandatory child sexual exploitation training for every driver and an updated list of convictions which can serve as grounds for refusing or revoking a licence.
Licensing for Hackney Carriages
The situation at the moment is detrimental to public safety as well as to the trade itself
outside of London is stipulated by the Town Police Clauses Act 1847, and private hire rules by the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.
The Law Commission reviewed the legislation in 2011 but their subsequent proposals were not adopted. The task and finish group described this as “regrettable”.
Birmingham City Council’s acting head of licensing Emma Rohomon said: “The situation at the moment is detrimental to public safety as well as to the trade itself, with many loopholes being widely exploited, leaving licensing authorities powerless to respond.”
Acting head of licensing Emma Rohomon
> All taxi drivers should have CCTV fitted and regular criminal record checks should be made