St Helens Council have launched a new campaign to encourage taxi users to support locally licenced drivers as they have the authority to pursue thorough checks to ensure high standards are maintained.
The new campaign, named 'Know Your Ride', highlights the issues caused by cross border hiring - a problem which many licensing authorities are now trying to eradicate.
St Helens Council have said they want to assure taxi users that ‘all drivers licensed in the borough have gone through strict checks and are tested on their essential skills and knowledge, while also being trained to spot and report safeguarding issues.
‘With the new #KnowYourRide campaign, residents will know the taxi they’re getting into is badged in St Helens. Look out for the Gold Standard symbol on licensed vehicles – both private hire and Hackney carriages (known as ‘black cabs’) – and a new gold lanyard and lapel badge for drivers, bearing the slogan ‘Know Your Ride’.
‘You can also ask for a taxi and driver licensed in St Helens when booking a taxi from a private hire operator.
‘This is important because since 2015, licensed taxi drivers have been able to obtain a licence in one area of the country, but then work in another. While this practice is lawful, it means that it’s not possible for St Helens Licensing Authority to hold drivers operating in the area to account if they’ve been licensed by a different council.’
Councillor Jeanie Bell, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “By choosing a local driver, you’re supporting local business and getting that local knowledge, for which there’s no substitute. You can also rest assured that the vehicle you’re in and the driver you’re with are held to and maintain the highest standards. Merseyside Police are working closely with the council and will be actively supporting enforcement operations across the borough to ensure our communities are safe.”
Councillor Dave Banks, Chair of the Licensing Committee, said: “We take great pride in our licensed trade in St Helens knowing that the majority of our local driving community live and work in this borough. The impact that ‘out of town’ drivers operating across borders has had on our licensed trade can’t be underestimated so it’s really important that we do all that we can to support the efforts of local drivers and operators.”