North West Norfolk MP backs new measure to improve taxi passenger safety and support individuals with guide dogs
On Friday the Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Safeguarding and Road Safety) Bill completed its passage through the House of Commons.
This Private Member’s Bill will reform licensing rules for taxis and private hire vehicles to reduce the risk that unsuitable people are granted or hold a tax or private hire vehicle licence.
North West Norfolk MP James Wild spoke in support of the Bill which will improve passenger safety by enhancing co-operation between local authorities to prevent dangerous drivers obtaining licences with two main sets of provisions.
The first require licensing authorities in England to input into a central database instances where the authority has suspended, revoked, refused to grant or refused to renew a taxi or private hire vehicle driver’s licence because of certain safeguarding or road safety concerns. Other licensing authorities in England must then have regard to that information when considering whether to grant or renew a taxi or PHV driver’s licence.
The second set of provisions in the Bill requires licensing authorities in England to report certain serious safeguarding or road safety concerns about a taxi or private hire vehicles driver working in its area to the licensing authority that granted a licence to that driver.
Speaking after the debate the MP said:“Taxis and minicabs play a vital role in helping people get around. This Bill is about public safety and giving people greater confidence that the driver of their taxi has been properly vetted.
"By requiring licensing authorities to share more information on refusals as well as safeguarding and road safety concerns, it will keep the travelling public safe.”
During the debate Mr Wild also highlighted research from the Guide Dogs for the Blind research that found that 72 per cent of guide dog owners who took part in the survey reported minicab and private hire vehicles illegally turned them away.
He called on the government to work with drivers and firms to increase take up of disability training.
He said:“When people with guide dogs are turned away by drivers it is deeply distressing to the individuals involved.
"It damages their confidence and undermines their independence and ability to live their life.
"I welcome the minister’s commitment that guidance will be brought forward and the Government will mandate national minimum standards.”