Call to boy­cott Wolver­hamp­ton pri­vate hire driv­ers

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

CALLS have been made to boy­cott Wolver­hamp­ton pri­vate hire driv­ers who op­er­ate in Birm­ing­ham.

The long-run­ning is­sue of cross­bor­der driv­ers came up again in the Birm­ing­ham City Coun­cil cham­ber this week dur­ing ques­tion time.

Coun­cil­lor Paul Til­s­ley (Lib Dem, Shel­don) asked Cllr Bar­bara Dring (Lab, Os­cott), the chair­man of the Li­cens­ing and Pub­lic Pro­tec­tion Com­mit­tee: “Will she join with me in ask­ing all of Birm­ing­ham res­i­dents, that in the fu­ture when they or­der a pri­vate hire to ask the op­er­a­tor to en­sure it is a Birm­ing­ham li­censed pri­vate hire cab that will turn up.

“They should boy­cott those li­censed by any other au­thor­ity.”

He said he was be­hind five pri­vate hire ve­hi­cles in Birm­ing­ham re­cently, four of which had been li­censed by the Black Coun­try au­thor­ity.

Wolver­hamp­ton Coun­cil has been at the cen­tre of a row be­tween coun­cils and taxi driv­ers for months over its li­cens­ing pol­icy which is cheaper, quicker and ar­guably eas­ier than other ar­eas – although they have ve­he­mently de­fended the lat­ter point, declar­ing their stan­dards are among the high­est in the coun­try.

They raked in £2.2 mil­lion from li­cens­ing last year. In four years the num­ber of pri­vate hire driv­ers the coun­cil has granted ap­pli­ca­tions to has in­creased from fewer than 900 to more than 10,000.

A loop­hole in the Dereg­u­la­tion Act 2015 means driv­ers can get li­censed by one coun­cil and op­er­ate in other ar­eas.

But Birm­ing­ham driv­ers say they are suf­fer­ing from out­side op­er­a­tors tak­ing their trade. The coun­cil says there is a pub­lic safety is­sue be­cause it has no en­force­ment pow­ers over driv­ers li­censed else­where.

It comes af­ter a gov­ern­ment task and fin­ish group has pub­lished a raft of pro­posed mea­sures around taxi li­cens­ing in re­cent weeks.

Key rec­om­men­da­tions in­clude lim­it­ing driv­ers to the ar­eas they are li­censed in and grant­ing coun­cils en­force­ment pow­ers to­wards any driver in their area.

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