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Taxi strategy agreed to improve standards

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Posted on Friday, April 29, 2022

IMPROVEMENTS to the quality of taxi services and vehicles will be made to make taxi travel easier and safer for passengers.

Leicester City Council has drawn up the Taxi Strategy which sets out a series of improvements to standards within the local taxi business, which will come into effect by 2025.

Some measures will be introduced immediately, while some longer-term improvements will be subject to public consultation before they can be introduced.

Goals include improving customer service, safety and ensuring the trade is well regulated and supported by the city council, and a commitment to increase the number of low-emission vehicles in service.

The strategy will also seek to tighten regulations around taxi drivers who are registered elsewhere but operate in Leicester and will consider the introduction of CCTV in vehicles to improve the safety of customers and drivers.

Announcing the Taxi Strategy today, Leicester City Deputy Mayor responsible for Regulatory Services, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, said: ‘This strategy brings together the work that is already underway around private hire standards and Hackney Transport, and defines how we will operate over the coming years to improve services and meet our environmental commitments around air quality and sustainable travel.

Taxis provide flexible and accessible door-to-door service and play a vital role in the city’s night-time economy when other modes of transport are unavailable.

“We want passengers to feel confident that the local taxi business is efficient, effective and safe, with a skilled and trustworthy workforce that is fairly regulated by the City Council.

“We have already done consultation work with the taxi industry, passengers and other local stakeholders, and while some of the improvements in this strategy can be made fairly quickly, others will likely require further consultation.

“In particular, we will consider working more closely with neighboring licensing authorities, such as Wolverhampton, to assess the impact of licensed taxis elsewhere in the city.”

Some of the commitments set out in the strategy could be delivered over the coming months, including clear and comprehensive standards for drivers and operators, updated vehicle fitness and environmental sustainability requirements, and an improved consultation structure between taxi drivers, operators, unions and the city council.

There is also a commitment to joint operations with other councils and better sharing of driver and vehicle records with police and neighboring councils.

Medium-term goals include implementing cashless payment options in all private hire cars and Hackney.

Other measures planned include working with other councils to regulate ‘out of town’ drivers and better training and development of licensing staff working with the taxi industry.

Discussions are also planned to explore the feasibility of more shared services in the area of ​​taxi licensing and regulation.

Over the next few years, there are plans to introduce online facilities for drivers or operators to make enquiries, renewals and payments, and to ensure that all customers will be able to choose when booking between a vehicle ultra-low emission or diesel, as well as the option to select wheelchair accessible vehicles.

The introduction of CCTV and GPS tracking on all taxis will also be considered.

There are currently almost 2,000 Leicester City Council licensed taxi drivers and around 1,300 private hire vehicles run by 93 different operators, along with just over 230 Hackney cars or ‘black cabs’.