DERBY CITY COUNCIL has been told that new taxi and private hire regulations, brought in after the Rotherham child-grooming sex exploitation scandal, could put the travelling public in danger.
The local authority has since introduced a series of qualifications that cab drivers need to get a licence, including English, maths, IT and a safeguarding course, as well as a points-based system to assess the suitability of candidates to hold a hire and reward licence.
Taxi and private hire drivers in Derby say however that the £600 cost is too much and may force them to get cheaper licences with neighbouring local authorities which have less stringent application criteria.
This in turn means that unsuitable cabbies could slip through the net and pose a threat to taxi customers in the East Midlands city.
Cab companies such as Western Cars say it may now have to ditch its Derby-licence-only condition as its drivers are starting to apply for cheaper licences in neighbouring districts.
Many of our taxi drivers are coming to me and asking if they will still be able to drive for us if they decide to get a badge from another local authority because it’s cheaper and easier for them to do so. This will mean they can still work in Derby but the council would have no control over the driver or the car.
“Obviously, the more drivers that decide to do this, we will seriously have to think about whether or not our Derby-only policy is the best way to go forward.
“But then we have to weigh this up against any possible safety concerns. I feel quite backed in to a corner over this, especially as other companies do not have the same recruitment policy criteria as us.”
Mr Keenan, who has been a cab driver in Derby for 30 years, added: “The irony is that the new rules are supposed to give the public more protection but they could actually result in greater dangers as drivers find their way around them. We take the safety of our customers very seriously and urge the council to rethink its new regulations.”