Swindon Council deciding on new policy to allow private hire drivers to work for more than one opera

PRIVATE hire drivers might be able to work for two different operators in Swindon if a new policy is agreed by councillors. Mannington and Western councillor Jim Robbins has lodged the suggestion with the Swindon Borough Council’s licensing committee asking them to consider allowing one driver to work for different operators at the same time.

Last month, speaking at the scrutiny committee, he said the current policy threw up anomalies. He said a number of drivers have told him that they did a lot of journeys to air and seaports and it would be more economic, efficient and more environmentally friendly if after dropping off their passengers, they could wait for and pick up passengers returning to Swindon, rather than another driver, working for another company, making a special trip to the same airport to pick them up.

But at the same meeting, Kathryn Ashton, the council’s licensing manger, said that she was against the proposal and said the council policy of “one driver, one badge, one operator,” was necessary for public safety. As reported by the Swindon Advertiser, In his submission to the planning department, Coun Robbins said: “The current system would require a private hire driver to give notice to the operator that they are driving for, collect their green form, physically take it to another company and start driving for them. “Can we review the council policy of one licence per driver to allow drivers to pay for multiple copies of their licence, so that they can drive for more than one operator? Drivers have suggested that they would be happy to pay up to £10 for each duplicate licence.” The meeting starts at 5.30pm on March 14 in the civic offices.

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