Bolton taxis are not always licensed by Bolton Council

Bolton Council bosses say they have no way of tracing the number of private hire taxi drivers working in the town who got their licences from other local authorities.

Deputy Council leader Hilary Fairclough urged drivers to request a driver who is registered in the borough to ensure their safety.

Different local authorities set varying minimum licencing standards for a driver to be registerd to operate.

And Cllr Fairclough has also said she has raised the issue of the deregulation with Levelling Up Secretary of State Michael Gove.

The issue was discussed at a full meeting of the council.

Concerns have been raised in particular about the number of drivers coming from the Wolverhampton area.

Cllr Mohammed Ayub said the differing minimum licensing standards would be undermined by the number of out of town drivers.

He said: “Out of town licences may not be regulated to the same standard that Bolton expects.

“On the one hand we are raising the standards of our licence holders, on the flip side many drivers are going elsewhere to get the licence and ply their trade in Bolton.”

He requested from the council administration information as to how many out of town drivers were operating in Bolton.

Cllr Fairclough said: “I abhor the fact we have to allow people registered in Wolverhampton and other places to come and work here it is something that was taken up with Michael Gove last week.

“It was made very clear to him we are not happy with that sort of deregulation and the reasons why we felt it was important our taxi drivers were registered in Bolton, adhered to Bolton rules and worked in Bolton.

“I really believe that we should have a standard that is high for everybody’s safety, for the taxi drivers and for the passengers.

“They can come in, we don’t like it, my advice to be honest would be to anybody booking a taxi is to say to the operator I want one that is registered in Bolton.

“Deregulation started in 2015 that allows private hire drivers to move around, it wasn’t the case prior to that, I don’t agree with that, I will continue to campaign for that to change.

“Regarding the drivers from Wolverhampton and others outside of area we have no way of knowing as they don’t have to register with us.”

Councillor Steve Evans, City of Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet member for city environment and climate change, said: “City of Wolverhampton Council has invested heavily in digital technology which enables us to thoroughly check driver and vehicle details.

“We have a high level of licensing standards and are believed to be the first in the country to have introduced daily enhanced DBS checks on all of our drivers.

“We have also introduced technology that checks applicants right to work, similar to the systems found at airports with facial recognition, and we check every new applicant against the National Register for Revocations, Refusals and Suspensions.

“Our investments in digital systems have made savings and allow us to undertake compliance operations across the country every week, including on weekend evenings.

“We have always been at the forefront of implementing stringent taxi licensing standards and we will continue to use the latest technology to ensure both public and passenger safety.”


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