Karhoo yesterday put forward a series of measures to strengthen safety in taxis and private hire (PH) vehicles.
Responding to the Government’s consultation, Taxi and private hire vehicle licensing: protecting users, Karhoo called for a bundle of policies to strengthen licensing standards to ensure everyone working in the industry is properly vetted and as well qualified and trained as possible.
Stressing the importance of public trust, Karhoo backed the government’s decision to introduce national minimum standards for taxi and PH licensing but urged more action to better safeguard passenger and driver safety.
The tech company called on licencing authorities to deter licence seekers who have previously had their licence removed elsewhere through penalties claiming: “If such deterrent sentencing is not in place there is a likelihood that some applicants will simply 'take a chance' which puts the public in danger and undermines the integrity of the licensing system.”
Karhoo, which has over 1.8 million vehicles within its network, strongly recommended that licensing and enforcement officers be enabled to investigate and where necessary take action against any licensed driver regardless of where they are licensed.
Karhoo went further than the government recommendation, which called on authorities to produce guidance for passengers’ complaints to be displayed in licensed vehicles, saying this should also be required on taxi and PH apps and websites.
The company also disagreed with the government’s proposal for PH operators to be subject to basic DBS checks, claiming all applicants and licence renewals should be subject to the enhanced DBS.
Karhoo stressed that drivers and operators should be required to notify the issuing authority within 48 hours upon arrest and release, charge or conviction of any motoring offence or any offence involving dishonesty, indecency or violence, saying the penalty for non-compliance must be high.
Referencing its ubiquity and potential to protect both passenger and driver, Karhoo said authorities should carefully consider the public safety benefits of mandating CCTV.
Karhoo’s COO Mike Galvin said: “A thriving taxi and private hire industry require good legislation that is properly regulated with adequate enforcement.”
“We can only stress that the integrity of the licensing system needs to be strengthened through national standards, deterrents to providing false information and the requirement for enhanced DBS checks”
“These changes would provide the foundation to better safeguard both drivers and vulnerable passengers.”