Concern over taxi providers

I am a taxi driver in Pontefract who obeys all the rules and regulations of the Wakefield licensing department .

These include every five years a medical examination, every three years a CRB check and my car must pass a taxi test every six months which consists of a 62 page test.

All these aforementioned are to secure the safety of passengers, which I agree is in the interest of all my passengers.

But what a joke! Because some of the operators in Pontefract and Castleford are using hackney carriages which are registered in places we have never heard of like Riverdale and West Lyndsey and are operating as private hire vehicles in Wakefield district.

These cars are not inspected according to Wakefield licence department and the drivers are not tested or vetted by Wakefield licensing department .

The Wakefield taxi inspectors have no jurisdiction over them and cannot guarantee the safety of the passengers who are being forced to use these cars by the different operators who send them out.

Name and address supplied

Response from Coun Graham Stokes, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for corporate performance: We also share these concerns as we work very hard with the taxi service providers in the district to ensure the vehicles and drivers registered by Wakefield Council provide a safe and secure service for their passengers.

It is very frustrating that we have no legal powers to stop hackney carriage vehicles and drivers licensed by other authorities working as private hire drivers and operating vehicles within Wakefield.

It is true that they don’t have to undertake any of our tests or abide by any of our policies. They simply need to work through an “operator” and be pre-booked.

We have advised the operators of our concern about this and asked them not to use drivers and vehicles licensed from other areas.

However, this is voluntary and unfortunately there are a number of companies within the Wakefield District that do use them.

The Law Commission recently completed a consultation on a number of proposals that seek to bring taxi and private hire licensing up to date.

Wakefield Council took part in this consultation, and along with many other local authorities, we raised our concerns about this issue.

We are now waiting to see the outcome of the consultation. Until there are any changes to the legislation we will continue to work with operators and do our best to get them not to use drivers and vehicles licensed from other areas.

There are a number of ways members of the public can check where a vehicle is registered. People can check the plate at the rear of the vehicle which gives the vehicle number and other details, look for a small sticker on the right hand side of the windscreen or ask to see the driver’s badge which gives his driver’s licence number and photograph.

We are currently reviewing all vehicle signage and will be consulting on this in the autumn.