Three quarters of Bolton’s private hire and hackney carriage drivers have signed up for safeguarding training, highlighting the industry’s commitment to protecting vulnerable passengers.
Trust2Ride, an accredited training course that launched in Bolton last year, is designed to equip taxi drivers with the necessary tools to respond when they suspect someone may be at risk.
So far, 1,480 licensed drivers in Bolton have booked onto a course from an overall total of 1,900.
The course is free for all existing drivers who sign up before June 2020 and Bolton Council eventually aims to make the training compulsory.
Training provider Personnel Checks has already held 16 sessions at Bolton Arena, with all delegates successfully completing the course so far.
Topics covered include:
Disability awareness training
Driver and passenger safety
Child sexual exploitation
Recognising indicators of concern and types of abuse
Conducting best safeguarding practice.
Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Environmental Regulatory Services, Cllr Anne Galloway, said: “Hackney Carriage and private hire drivers are professionals and the welfare of their passengers is a top priority.
“Their work brings them into contact with a diverse range of Bolton residents and licensed drivers are uniquely placed to spot if vulnerable passengers are at risk and alert the relevant agency.
“We are well on the way to having all licensed drivers in Bolton accredited and I urge the remaining drivers to sign-up for the free training immediately.
“Passengers should have the confidence of knowing when they get in a vehicle they will be safe and supported."
Charles Oakes, of the Hackney Drivers Association, said: “Our members are committed to providing the best possible service to passengers, and that means taking every opportunity to learn new skills.
“The training has been very informative and was received positively by all drivers.”
Yasif Khan, of the Bolton Private Hire Association, said: “We are very happy with how the training has gone so far.
“Plenty of drivers have already booked on and we encourage those who haven’t to book as soon as possible to make the most of free training in these key areas.”
Safeguarding for taxi and private hire drivers around the UK has become a big discussion among licensing authorities, with some making the course compulsory for all new and current drivers.
Licensing bosses at Sunderland Council are set to introduce new rules for hackney carriage and private hire drivers in the city in line with recommendations from the Government.
From 1 April, new drivers entering the trade would need to carry out ‘prescribed training’ and a knowledge test before submitting an application form for a licence.
Existing taxi drivers would also have to complete the training within three months of an invitation letter or their licences would be suspended.
Image credit: Bolton Council