Private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers cherry-picking and ignoring journey offers are ‘compromising’ public safety, says a leading industry representative.
Demand for taxi and PHV services has largely outweighed the supply of drivers at peak-times since coronavirus restrictions were fully eased earlier this year.
PHV Operators have tried to recruit more drivers back onto their platforms after many left during the pandemic. Operators around the UK have struggled to get a sufficient number of drivers due to high operating costs and low pay when compared to similar graded employment.
In some regions, the remaining PHV drivers can effectively ‘pick and choose’ which jobs they accept. Many of the fares advertised by operators are not being accepted due to drivers perceiving the run-ins to be too far, the fare not lucrative enough or the fare’s destination taking them away from hotspot areas, meaning dead-mileage back.
Steve Wright MBE, Chairman of the Licensed Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA), detailed his concerns for the ongoing issue which he claims is leaving vulnerable passengers ‘stranded’.
Steve Wright MBE told Private Hire News: “It is estimated that as many as 20% of such drivers are 'cherry-picking what work they want to do by not accepting jobs that logistically they are best placed to do.
“The consequence of this is that public safety is being compromised, pre-booking is now becoming very difficult and for operators it is becoming extremely hard to take work with certainty. Vulnerable passengers are being left stranded, jobs are being taken then rejected and the safety issues that follow are considerable.
“We floated some ideas that we need to discuss in more detail offline with the wider membership and we will hold an LPHCA full members Zoom session to discuss this further.”