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Concerns raised as data shows THOUSANDS of Wolverhampton private hire drivers working in Manchester

Concerns have been raised as data shows THOUSANDS of Wolverhampton private hire drivers working in Manchester

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that over a third of private hire taxi drivers in a certain region are licensed by a council located approximately 80 miles away.

According to Manchester Evening News, the data showed that nearly 9,000 drivers registered with Wolverhampton Council actually reside in Greater Manchester.

Transport for Greater Manchester has raised concerns about this situation, calling for a change in legislation to ensure the local councils can guarantee a high standard from all drivers. Currently, the law permits private hire drivers to operate anywhere in England and Wales, excluding London.

The figures show that there are just over 36,000 private hire drivers with a Wolverhampton plate, which is about 13% of the city's population of approximately 262,000. In comparison, there are 16,300 private hire vehicles with a Greater Manchester licence plate.

These findings have raised questions about the effectiveness of the current licensing system and the ability of local councils to regulate and monitor private hire drivers who do not reside within their jurisdiction. Concerns regarding passenger safety and service quality have been voiced, as local councils face challenges in ensuring consistent standards.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester expressed concern and condemnation earlier this summer over the practice of private hire vehicles (PHV) being registered "hundreds of miles away" to avoid complying with local standards.

The Mayor, Andy Burnham, voiced his opinion during a live radio phone-in on BBC Radio Manchester's 'In The Hotseat', where he addressed a taxi driver's question regarding new vehicle standards implemented by Wigan Council.

The taxi driver, known only as ‘Jack from Wigan’, raised concerns about the impact of these higher standards on the taxi fleets in Greater Manchester. He highlighted the possibility of a rise in the usage of out-of-town plates, as drivers opt to obtain their licences in areas with perceived lower standards, such as Wolverhampton and Sefton.

Burnham echoed Jack's worries, questioning the lack of monitoring and regulation by authorities situated in different regions. Burnham said: “How are they allowing it, the other authorities, who are 100 or so miles away?

“How are they not checking up on those taxis and those drivers, but they’re taking in the money for it?"

He added: “How are they allowing that situation? They shouldn’t be doing it because they’re giving plates without being able to then monitor the performance.”

Burnham acknowledged the difficulties of enforcing restrictions on out-of-area taxis but affirmed the city's commitment to promoting the trade registered in Greater Manchester. He stressed the importance of achieving higher standards in order to enhance passenger safety and maintain confidence in the local taxi industry.

Burnham said: “What we’re trying to do as part of a wider drive is to improve taxi standards in Greater Manchester so that we improve safety of passengers and all of the pollution issues as well. In the absence of restrictions on those out of the area for taxis, it can be quite difficult.

“I think what we’re going to need to do is review the implementation of taxi standards across the city region, because the issues that you’re raising are valid. I think we’ve got to work out how we get to a position where we can promote the Greater Manchester registered trade.

“We want to be confident that it’s operating to higher standards.”


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