In most local taxi licensing areas there are taxi driver representatives that champion the causes of cabbies in that area. They also might assist drivers with legal help on licensing issues and aid cabbies unsure of regulatory requirements. They are experts in their field and a vital tool for all professional drivers working in that region.
But what happens when taxi drivers need national representation? Who relays the industry needs to the Governments for example?
There are a couple of groups that claim to be national representatives of the taxi industry, but very little is seen or heard of them in the national press. It is also unclear how many drivers are members and what policies they support. A quick look on Companies House would suggest very little funds in the bank to achieve anything on a national scale.
One of the ‘taxi’ groups is also heavily linked to the private hire industry. With so many conflicting policies around things like cross-border and CCTV, how can a ‘one-size fits all’ representative group best serve two sectors? For example, Hackney Carriage wants cross- border abolished and PHV generally wants it to remain.
So, the big question... Is now the time for a nationwide representative to step forward that serves as an umbrella to all the local taxi associations across the UK? One that allows all Hackney Carriage drivers to have input on government policy and researches in -depth issues to present at a national level.
Let’s be clear, any national representation cannot ever be trumped by regional representation. They are vital to individual drivers where they work. However, when was the last industry driven research published? When was the last time you heard the national policies of the taxi industry discussed in the media? When was the last time you saw a successful national taxi lobby conducted?
Locally the taxi industry is a force to be reckoned with. However, nationally the industry is seen as weak.
Now’s the time for that to change in my humble opinion.