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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Talking About Taxis in Greater Manchester

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

A couple of weeks ago on my blog I shared how we want to get our residents views on protecting our shared environment through the Greater Manchester Clean Air Consultation. Close on its heels follows our consultation on Minimum Standards for Licensed Vehicles across the city region.
 

Every year across Greater Manchester, millions of trips are made in taxis and other private hire vehicles. We estimate that there are around 2,000 taxis and 14,000 other vehicles in total operating across all ten of the Greater Manchester local authorities. The vast majority of activity by these licensed vehicles takes place with no problems whatsoever, however after listening closely to members of the trade, public and regulators we believe that it can still be run better. These include addressing concerns about “out of town” private vehicles operating outside the area in which they are licensed, inconsistent standards across each local authority area, and older licensed vehicles contributing to air pollution.

By putting in place a city region-wide licensing regime, we will build a trade that is fit for purpose in Greater Manchester in the 21st century. Not only will this give residents confidence that if they get in a taxi in Manchester or Oldham they will be receiving exactly the same service as if they got into a taxi in Salford or Tameside, it will also help to clean up our air and contribute to our wider vision of a improved and integrated transport system across Greater Manchester.

Our draft Minimum Licensing Standard place a number of new duties on people and organisations involved in the private hire trade.

For drivers, this will include fulfilling a number of checks around criminal records, medical examinations, local knowledge, English language and driving training.

Vehicles will be required to abide by minimal standards of age, emissions, safety and accessibility for disabled people, as well as adopting a Greater Manchester-wide colour (black for taxis/Hackney cabs and white for private hire vehicles) and livery of a common design with the individual council logo incorporated.

 

Operators must conduct basic criminal background checks for their staff, follow more stringent requirements in terms of keeping booking records, and take more responsibility for the conduct of their drivers.

Last but not least, local authorities such as ourselves will commit to a common set of licensing fees and enforcement approaches, giving drivers and operators of taxi and private hire vehicles certainty about what is expected from them no matter where in Greater Manchester they work.

In the longer term the Minimum Licensing Standard also propose a step-by-step pathway to work with taxi and private hire drivers and operators to reduce harmful emissions from the entire sector. We’re putting together a generous package of support, including £20 million of funding from the government, with the goal of making every taxi or private hire vehicle in Greater Manchester zero emission by the end of the decade. 

The Minimum Licensing Standards consultation will run until midnight on the 3rd December 2020, so if you’re a driver, operator or user of taxis and private hire vehicles in Greater Manchester don’t forget to visit the website here and have your say. If you’re involved in the taxi or private hire trade we also want to hear about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected your business, especially how it may affect your ability to comply with any of the proposed standards. Unfortunately due to social distancing requirements we are unable to hold the usual drop-in and engagement sessions that usually support our consultations. However we’ve created a virtual space, open 24 hours a day, where you can view our plans. We’re also going to hold a number of online webinar events via Microsoft Teams where you can have your questions answered in more detail.

 

It’s an exciting team in Greater Manchester. Despite the continuing struggle against the coronavirus pandemic, we’re putting in place the plans we need to build back better and make our city region the best place in the country to grow up, get on and grow old. By telling us what matters to you, you too can be a part of creating our shared bright future. 
 

Posted by: Executive Leader


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