Call to boycott Wolverhampton private hire drivers
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.