The taxi licensing controversy surrounding Wolverhampton private hire drivers seems to be growing.
A little while ago, I wrote about Uber’s difficulties in London. In the West Midlands, Uber seems to rely heavily on drivers who have been licenced by Wolverhampton City Council, but who actually work elsewhere.
This has sparked quite a bit of interest. I spoke on various radio stations about it. And the Birmingham Mail made a freedom of information request.
The Birmingham Mail article makes very interesting reading. Here are the highlights:
- In 2015, Wolverhampton City Council granted under 1,000 licences. In 2016 it increased to 5,000.
- The authority used to make about £250,000 a year from application fees. In 2016/17 this increased to nearly £800,000.
- Last year, more minicabs were registered in Wolverhampton than in Birmingham.
Neither Wolverhampton Council, nor the drivers, are doing anything wrong at all. And I am not suggesting that Wolverhampton drivers are less safe than any others.
Lack of Supervision
Rather, this is a problem because local authorities are supposed to be able to licence and supervise the drivers who are picking up passengers in their areas. This is plainly not what is happening in the West Midlands.
It may well be time to move to a national system of licensing for taxi drivers, just as we have for the road haulage industry.
For more information on all taxi licensing matters, please contact Regan or Gemma by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 0121 201 3765.