TAXI AND PRIVATE HIRE (PHV) drivers say Leicester City Council and its mayor Sir Peter Soulsby (pictured above) – should abandon its controversial misconduct scheme after it was revealed that 104 penalty points had been awarded in the last five months.
The East Midlands local authority set up the punishment programme in December 2015, in the face of stiff opposition from the city’s licensed cab trade, which gives points to drivers who are found guilty of committing offences.
Taxi and private hire drivers face a council hearing, where their licence can be revoked, if they receive a total of 12 points within three years.
The cab branch of the RMT union has fought the council points scheme “tooth and nail” since it was introduced and has staged a number of demonstrations in protest at what they see as a threat to their members’ livelihoods.
Leicester Council licence officials say that 104 penalty points have so far been issued for 26 offences.
In 20 cases, points were issued to taxi and PHV drivers for parking inappropriately in restricted areas of Jubilee Square, Horsefair Street, Belvoir Street and Highcross Street.
Points were also issued in six cases after vehicles were not presented for their compulsory six month safety check.
In 28 cases, the local authority has yet to rule on a number of infringements and in a further five, licensed cab drivers have avoided the issuing of points after they made defence representations to city council officials.
Leicester mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, the man behind the points penalty system, said:
These figures make it clear that while the vast majority of the city’s 2,000 or so taxi drivers comply with the reasonable standards we expect from them, there are some who are still falling short of that.
“We brought in the 12-month trial of the penalty point scheme to boost customer confidence and deal with concerns that had been raised about issues, such as illegal parking, road-worthiness of vehicles and ensuring that drivers display the correct identification.
“We are now four months into the 12 month period and I intend to let the pilot scheme run its course before deciding whether or not it should become permanent.”
Leicestershire RMT spokesman Umar Khan said: “We believe that the points system is deeply flawed and we will be making the case for it to be scrapped when the year long pilot ends.”