The Mayor of Greater Manchester has expressed his concern and condemnation 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.”