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A staggering 96% of Wolverhampton taxi and PHV drivers licensed in the last year live OUTSIDE of the area

Image credit: DALL.E (AI generated)

According to a recent Freedom of Information request, a staggering 96% of Wolverhampton taxi and PHV drivers licensed in the last year, live OUTSIDE of the council authority area.

In the period from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024, a significant number of taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers lived outside of their chosen Wolverhampton licensing authority.

Specifically, out of 21,188 total licensed drivers, 20,375 lived outside of Wolverhampton borders, while only 813 obtained a licence from the area they lived in. This translates to a staggering 96.16% of drivers living outside their licensed region.

This phenomenon is primarily due to the existing cross-border hiring rules, which allow drivers to register in one jurisdiction but operate in another. This practice has sparked a heated debate across the industry and among policymakers.

The core issue with cross-border hiring is the inconsistency it creates in regulatory standards. Local authorities have different requirements for licensing, including variations in safety checks, vehicle standards, and driver qualifications. This disparity can lead to a 'race to the bottom' where drivers can opt for the least stringent licensing authority, potentially compromising passenger safety and undermining local regulations.

Adding to the debate earlier this year, Andy Burnham, the recently re-elected Mayor of Greater Manchester, brought this issue to the forefront of Labour's transport policy. He announced a pledge to ban 'out of area' PHV working, should Labour win the next election. This move aims to ensure that drivers are subject to the same standards and regulations as their operating area, which in turn aims to improve passenger safety and provide the local area with the licensing standards that are right for them.

The implications of the pledge are far-reaching. By eliminating the ability to work out of area, drivers would be incentivised to adhere to the local licensing requirements, but this could also lead to challenges, such as a reduction in the availability of PHVs in areas where there is a high demand but fewer locally licensed drivers.


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