New task force hopes to clamp down on rogue cabbies”
Crackdown on cross border taxis
Rogue cabbies in Bradford are being targeted in 2016 with plans for a cross-border crackdown set to be put in place by council bosses.
A task force, consisting of representatives from councils across Yorkshire, is currently being created to police the taxi and private hire trade and help clamp down on rogue elements. Databases of drivers in the region will help to make this happen.
National deregulation has, in recent times, opened up the trade, leading to increased concerns about safety issues, especially in the wake of the Rotherham child abuse scandal, which may leave passengers at risk of sexual grooming and trafficking.
Following changes in the law, firms can now make bookings outside of their own city - even though monitoring powers can only be enforced in the area they are licensed in.
Mohammed Khan, representative for the Bradford Hackney Carriage Owners and Drivers Association (BHCODA), said the industry had undergone too much deregulation, allowing drivers to operate in different cities.
“From the start, I was against it,” he said. “The reason for that was every city, every town, every council have got their own system of taxi’s and private hires.
“The taxi drivers that are working under the council are being governed by the council and vehicles are being checked for MOTs. It keeps them in line with the council and they know what’s going on.”
Mr Khan continued: “If a taxi goes to another area, one he’s not familiar with it and secondly, it’s confusing for the public. They won’t know which one is a legitimate one to hail down. It makes it easier for the taxi man to abuse the system because he’s not vetted in that town.
“I represent the Bradford Hackney carriages and I work with the council for the betterment of the taxi’s operating in Bradford. Our taxis are governed by the Bradford council. As long as they know they’re getting into a Bradford cab then they’ll be safe.”
Bradford is expected to authorise the new rules shortly with other authorities. By the beginning of April, Leeds, Kirklees, Calderdale, Wakefield, and also York are expected to sign up to the new co-ordinated approach.
Bradford Council has issued 222 black cab licences and 2,700 private hire vehicle permits.
Bradford Council’s deputy leader, Councillor Val Slater said: “It's a good move forward.
“It's logical that we have common standards across West Yorkshire on taxi licensing and it will certainly help when we have the delegated powers as it will mean we can inspect and deal with each others’ vehicles.”
She added that it would get rid of the ‘bureaucratic nightmare’ of trying to enforce taxi regulation for drivers that operate across border, or private hire firms which have depots in different authorities.