Bob Ainsworth recently tabled three written parliamentary questions asking Ministers at the Department for Transport about their policies in relation to taxi licensing. He asked if they had any plans to revise their department’s current Best Practise Guidance and if they had any plans to bring forward legislative proposals in relation to two specific areas; cross-border taxi hiring and a national standardised licensing regime. Each question was answered with a resounding no from Norman Baker MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State.
Bob was disappointed with the responses he received to his questions and therefore decided to write direct to Philip Hammond MP, Secretary of State for Transport, on 2 November asking him to personally look at introducing legislation in relation to cross-border taxi hiring, which is a national problem, not just one that is confined to Coventry.
Cross-border taxi hiring is an issue which concerns both taxi drivers and Licensing Authorities alike. Bob recently had a meeting with Councillor Dave Chater, Acting Chair of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee, regarding this issue and subsequently received representations from several constituents as part of Unite the Union’s “National Cross Border Hiring Campaign Petition”.
“I understand the concerns of both taxi drivers and licensing authorities. This is quite clearly a problem that concerns both parties and I therefore hope the Government will start to listen to those on the frontline, who encounter these problems each day, and reverse their intransigence to legislating to address the issue.”
19th November 2010
In September, Bob Ainsworth pledged to support a petition that was being raised by local taxi drivers, which called on Coventry City Council to offer the option of a 1 or 3 year drivers licence for taxi drivers in the city.
Local taxi drivers have now handed the completed petition to Bob and asked that he present it to Councillor Dave Chater, Acting Chair of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee, on their behalf. They hope the petition will demonstrate the level of support amongst their colleagues for the introduction of a choice on licence durations, which to date has been resisted by the Coventry Licensing Authority.
In addition, the taxi drivers have also handed Bob a second petition which calls for stronger regulation of taxi numbers and the introduction of a cap within the Coventry locality. This petition will also be presented to the Licensing Committee for consideration.
Bob said: “I hope the Licensing and Regulatory Committee will give serious consideration to the calls for an option on licence durations. Department for Transport Best Practise Guidance recommends that Licensing Authorities offer the choice of an annual or three-year licence and I can’t understand why Coventry has decided to second guess this guidance.”
16th November 2010
Bob Ainsworth has pledged to support a petition that is being raised by local taxi drivers. The petition urges the Coventry Taxi Licensing Office and the Coventry Licensing and Regulatory Committee to offer the option of a 1 or 3 year drivers licence for taxi drivers in the city. The taxi drivers hope the petition will demonstrate the level of support amongst their colleagues for the introduction of a choice on licence durations, which to date has been resisted by the Coventry Licensing Authority.
Currently, the Licensing Authority in Coventry only issues 1 year licences and they have recently confirmed that they have no plans to change their policy in this area. However, the taxi drivers argue that offering a 1 or 3 year driver’s licence gives them more flexibility and alleviates any undue financial or administrative burdens on them and the licensing authority alike. They also argue that such a policy is in line with Department for Transport Best Practise Guidance, which states in paragraphs 55-56 that it is “…. good practise to offer drivers the choice of an annual or a three-year licence”. It goes on to state that “three years is the legal maximum period and is in general the best approach”.
Bob had a meeting on the 23rd August 2010 with Councillor Dave Chater – Acting Chairman of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee – and Frank Barlow – Manager of the Coventry Taxi Licensing Office – to discuss this issue, amongst others. Unfortunately, during the meeting Bob was unable to get them to consider introducing this measure.
“It seems to me that Coventry has decided to second guess the best practise guidance and are thereby causing unnecessary bureaucracy and expense”.
Department for Transport Best Practise Guidance: http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/regional/taxis/bestpractice/pdf/guidance.pdf
Relevant paragraphs 55-56 and 62-65