November 30, 2016
Plymouth City Council’s licensing chiefs have praised local private hire taxi firms after the results of an under-cover investigation were extremely positive.
Licensing officers carry out random checks throughout the year to ensure that private hire drivers aren’t plying for trade and are only accepting fares that are pre-booked through a taxi firm or app.
The check, commonly known as a ‘purchase operation’, sees licensing officers attempting to flag down private hire vehicles. If the private hire vehicle stops and accepts the fare it’s deemed as an offence. The consequence for the driver is a fine and usually licence suspension or removal.
Councillor John Riley commented: “All private hire journeys must be pre-booked through their respective operator. Pick-ups by private hire vehicles are not covered by the vehicle’s insurance so this in turn puts passengers at risk. If passengers have problems the journey won’t be recorded and the circumstances of any complaint are more difficult to investigate.”
Outstanding Results for Taxi Firms
“I’m really pleased with the results of our latest purchase operations.”
Over a number of weeks, members of Plymouth’s licensing committee carried out a purchase operation in the area and were astounded by the results. 19 vehicles were tested in the operation, all of which passed with flying colours.
Councillor Riley said: “I’m really pleased with the results of our latest purchase operations. We carry them out to make sure private hire drivers abide by the conditions of their licence.”
Improving the Taxi Trade
“I’ll soon be looking to engage with private hire drivers, operators and hackney carriage drivers to seek to improve the taxi service.”
The most recent operation is part of a campaign being run by the council which hopes to improve the service provided by the trade. Councillor Riley added that he hoped that this could be achieved with the help of the drivers themselves.
He said: “I’ll soon be looking to engage with private hire drivers, operators and hackney carriage drivers to seek to improve the taxi service available to Plymouth city residents and visitors alike.
“Making a start with that process, I would welcome observations, comments, opinions and experiences from the wider public as to the quality of taxi service currently available in the city. Their views as customers are invaluable.”