More and more taxi drivers are applying for operating licences in areas they don’t plan to work in to avoid restrictions, the government has been warned.
Val Shawcross, London’s deputy mayor for transport, has called for a clampdown on the practice – which lets drivers operate anywhere in the country once they have received a licence from an official authority – to ensure the safety of passengers.
The London Assembly says a number of drivers have used the loophole to continue operating in an area after a local authority refused them a licence.
A report published today by Transport for London (TfL) said licensing authorities were concerned that current legislation encouraged “a race to the bottom” in terms of standards.
Shawcross said: “Cross-border hiring is a serious national safety issue that must be tackled by the government. It cannot be right that drivers can obtain a licence in an area where they believe standards are lower, and then go to work elsewhere in the country where they feel they can ignore enforcement officers.
“It’s potentially dangerous and must be stopped. We need the government to pass legislation now that insists drivers start or finish their journey in their licensing authority and deliver a national minimum standard to help ensure safety of passengers.”
Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA), said: “Passenger safety is absolutely paramount, and yet the current licensing regulations mean that local authorities can’t control who operates in their area and protect passengers.
“TfL has put together a fantastic report with some strong recommendations, which we at the LTDA fully back.”