Updated: Mar 16, 2022
Portsmouth City Council Licensing Committee Vice-Chairman, Payter-Harris, has spoken out over the amount of private hire drivers licensed with other authorities who travel miles to work in other areas, saying that local standards are being “watered down”.
During a recent council meeting, Payter-Harris said: “If you are going to work in Portsmouth, you should be licensed in Portsmouth - it‘s a two-way street. We lose oversight of these drivers if they are licensed by other local authorities. That’s concerning.”
In 2015 laws surrounding where private hire drivers could work were relaxed, meaning drivers didn’t necessarily need to stay in the area they were licensed in to access jobs - and this is where cross-border hiring was born.
Payter-Harris continued: “We have a robust set of standards we require of our taxi drivers in this city but they are being watered down by those from other councils.”
Cross-border hiring has been the talk of all towns for years now, especially since the introduction of ride-hailing apps such as Uber. Traditional cabbies have argued for years that allowing private hire drivers from all over the UK access to work in any city regardless of where they hold a licence is not best practice for the industry, and some have even suggested it should be seen as unlawful.
Transport regulators who have been challenged on this have stated that the laws allow drivers to work across licensing authorities, and they do not have the power to intervene.