Minimum taxi standards, including behaviour and dress code, to be rolled out
Reporter: Alice Richardson, Local Democracy Reporter
Date published: 01 October 2021
Council bosses in all 10 of the region’s boroughs have signed up to the plans, which will see minimum standards for private hire and hackney carriage drivers made part of the licensing process
Minimum standards for taxi drivers – including behaviour and dress codes – will be rolled out across Greater Manchester.
Council bosses in all 10 of the region’s boroughs have signed up to the plans, which will see minimum standards for private hire and hackney carriage drivers made part of the licensing process.
Details of the scheme in a report presented to Trafford council’s executive this week stated: “Ultimately the collaborative approach that the minimum licensing standards represents will help achieve the vision of a strong, professional and healthy taxi and private hire sector providing safe and high quality services to residents and visitors across the whole of Greater Manchester.”
The ideas in the minimum standards are based on feedback from a consultation that took place across the city-region involving drivers, customers and unions in June.
There are around 2,000 hackney vehicles, approximately 11,500 private hire vehicles and upwards of 18,600 drivers currently licensed across the ten Greater Manchester Authorities.
Trafford council approved its local minimum standards in a report presented to its executive meeting on Monday, September 27.
In the, details of the new standards indicate there will be minimum English proficiency tests for taxi drivers, enhanced criminal record checks, medical checks, driving proficiency tests, driver training and a dress code.
Standards of behaviour are also being implemented.
The report said: “The licensee shall behave and drive in a civil, professional and responsible manner to passengers, other road users, members of the public council officers and other agencies.”
Drivers are also going to be expected to comply with any reasonable requests from the council, police or passengers regarding their comfort during their journey (heating/ventilation).
Drivers must be on time, keep their vehicles clean, park considerately, turn off their engines when waiting, only use their horns in an emergency, provide passengers with assistance for mobility access and loading luggage, ensuring the luggage is safely secured.
They will not be allowed to smoke or vape in the vehicle, drink or eat while driving, use any hand-held device or be distracted in any other way, engage in any sexual activity in the vehicle (even if consensual) or use the radio or other sound producing equipment without the permission of passengers.
Drivers are bound to take the shortest route possible when driving passengers and any alternative routes must be discussed with the passengers before being taken.
Other rules include remaining vigilant for vulnerable passengers and being aware of and reporting any safeguarding issues to the council.
Price setting across the city-region’s taxi and private hire use will also be made uniform through the move – with prices being calculated using a specific formula.
The report also detailed the challenges posed by out of region drivers.
It said: “Local reform through minimum licensing standards can deliver real improvements across Greater Manchester, but the growth of out-of-area operation undermines local licensing, and causes real concern that vehicles and drivers licensed outside our conurbation (but carrying Greater Manchester residents and visitors) may not be regulated to the high standards we expect.”
The aim now is to lobby the government to improve national required standards across the taxi and private hire vehicle industry.
A further report on drink and drug testing for taxi drivers is also expected to come to Trafford council’s executive in 2022.
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