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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2021 1:55 pm 
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https://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/news/politics/blackpool-taxi-boss-defends-licensing-his-drivers-in-wolverhampton-3187995

Blackpool taxi boss defends licensing his drivers in Wolverhampton
Blackpool taxi drivers are being licensed in Wolverhampton prompting claims some cabbies are bypassing the resort’s tougher regulations aimed at protecting standards.

New private hire drivers recruited by Premier Taxis are among those applying to Wolverhampton Council instead of Blackpool Council for licences, meaning they are regulated by officers based more than 100 miles away.

They are among thousands of drivers around the country taking advantage of the cheaper and quicker licensing regime offered by the Midlands city.

In Blackpool a three year licence costs £250 – more than double the £120 charged in Wolverhampton.

A change in the law in 2015 allowed private hire drivers, who must be pre-booked, to operate in a different area from where they obtained a licence.

The change does not affect hackney cabs which can be flagged down on the street, and remain in the control of the local authority they work in.

John Cutler, managing director of Premier Taxis based on Lytham Road, said using Wolverhampton’s licensing service meant he could give drivers jobs more quickly.

He said: “Due to Covid we’ve lost hundreds of thousands of pounds and this is a way of getting drivers back to work quickly.

“All our drivers are from the Blackpool area and are people wanting to get back into employment.

“I think Blackpool is going to have a bumper season once things reopen, and we will need these drivers.”

So far Premier has licensed 20 new drivers through Wolverhampton, with 150 vehicles still registered with Blackpool.

Mr Cutler said it took 10 days to get a new driver licensed through Wolverhampton, compared to a longer process with Blackpool.

He added this included a DBS (criminal conviction) check and measures to ensure vulnerable passengers were protected, while the firm had its own standards on quality.

Drivers do not need to pass a knowledge test, but Mr Cutler said they used GPS tracking to reach destinations.

Customers with complaints would need to contact Wolverhampton Council, but Mr Cutler said: “Our standards of service are taken very seriously and if there are any complaints we follow them up.”

But Dee Grant, a director of C Cabs, based in Caunce Street, said there were no assurances drivers not licensed in Blackpool would operate to higher standards expected in the town.

She warned: “These drivers do not take the Blackpool knowledge test or take the customer service NVQ.

“Blackpool enforcement has no control over these vehicles.

“It is more expensive to be licensed through Blackpool Council but the checks are stringent and at the end of the day it’s about vehicle safety and customer safety. That is paramount.”

Blackpool Council said its focus was on ‘preserving public safety.”

Licensing committee chairman Coun Adrian Hutton said: “Our primary focus during our driver licensing process is to preserve public safety by ensuring that a wide range of driver checks and assessments are undertaken before an individual can drive a licensed vehicle.

“When Blackpool Council grants an application the driver will have met some very stringent requirements and meet specific standards. These range from a DBS check, medical to a knowledge test, as well as other criteria.

“This process may in some individual cases take more time than others because it relies on robust checks that the information supplied is current and valid.

“We believe that it is our duty and responsibility to adopt this rigorous approach and invest time and resource into this important regulatory licensing service provision.”

Blackpool Council’s policy for private hire drivers includes they must pass the knowledge test of roads and landmarks. The test also includes questions on taxi law and policy, the Highway Code and the safeguarding of children and adults.

Drivers must also pass a medical examination, and agree to a dress code

A freedom of information request found Wolverhampton Council had handed out 15,000 private hire licences in 2019, bringing in nearly £3.7m in fees.

It licences drivers from around the UK including Scotland, Manchester and Nottingham.

The council says it oversees enforcement operations all over the country, and any profits it makes from licensing go back into the scheme.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2021 2:13 pm 
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Certainly sounds like Blackpool has a pretty stringent PH code, and the Wolverhampton route will drive a landau and horses through it :-o

Dress code something I'd never thought about in this regard either :?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2021 2:19 pm 
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In Blackpool there is only one test, taken by both Hackney and PHV applicants. You just specify what badge you want Hackney, PHV or both. Cost an extra £12 if you wanted both badges last time I looked, although that was probably when it was 1yr badges.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2021 5:00 pm 
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So has this firm got a base in Wolverhampton?

And why is Blackpool the only place in the world that has a lack of taxi/PH drivers?

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2021 7:29 pm 
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Quote:
In Blackpool a three year licence costs £250 – more than double the £120 charged in Wolverhampton.


wow only £250 and they are still shopping around and I thought it was only Yorkshiremen don't like opening their wallets !

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2021 11:11 pm 
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Won't all his vehicles have to be licensed in Wolverhampton as well (driver licenced in one authority can't drive a vehicle licensed in a different authority), and all those vehicles will have to be tested every 6-12 months in Wolverhampton ?
Bit of a pain when all your vehicles are electric Leafs with a range of 40 miles :badgrin: :lol: #-o


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 4:20 am 
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sasha wrote:
Won't all his vehicles have to be licensed in Wolverhampton as well (driver licenced in one authority can't drive a vehicle licensed in a different authority), and all those vehicles will have to be tested every 6-12 months in Wolverhampton ?
Bit of a pain when all your vehicles are electric Leafs with a range of 40 miles :badgrin: :lol: #-o



Quote:
“Blackpool enforcement has no control over these vehicles.


I'm not sure they are tested in wolverhampton or just need an MOT only like in Rutland

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:28 am 
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Sussex wrote:

And why is Blackpool the only place in the world that has a lack of taxi/PH drivers?

There is a shortage of drivers here as well and the reasons given by most are the high price of a badge and the long wait to get one. if people want a job they want it now not in 3 months or more.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:30 am 
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sasha wrote:
Won't all his vehicles have to be licensed in Wolverhampton as well (driver licenced in one authority can't drive a vehicle licensed in a different authority), and all those vehicles will have to be tested every 6-12 months in Wolverhampton ?
Bit of a pain when all your vehicles are electric Leafs with a range of 40 miles :badgrin: :lol: #-o
the report did also say that Blackpool have no control of the vehicles. Our Nissan Leaf has a range of around 220 miles.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:06 pm 
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Was having a look around the Wolverhampton council website, but it's not 100% clear how the inspection system works.

But to apply you must have a recent MoT from a council-approved testing station.

Wolverhampton City Council wrote:
The MOT must be dated within a 10 day period of the making of this application and be issued from a City of Wolverhampton Council approved VOSA testing station.

There are two approved stations in Blackpool by the looks of things.

Can't actually find a list of stations, but there's an interactive map :-o

Screengrab below, but on the map itself you can zoom in and out, and click on each button to get the MoT station's name and address.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:07 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:07 pm 
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Not entirely clear what the different colours represent, but they're presumably regions of some kind, but precisely how they regionalise them isn't clear.

The graphic is at medium level zoom, because if you show the whole country they tend to merge together and you can't get a proper idea of the numbers. And zoom right in and you'd need umpteen graphics to show it all. Most obviously, the mauve coloured ones are Wolverhampton itself, and there are 14 there in total :shock:

Anyway, just mentioned that because there's a few stations that are not on the graphic. There's one in Southampton, a couple on Teesside, one each in London, Herts, Essex and Kent.

Can't be bothered counting them all, but must be thick end of 100 in total, maybe 80-90 or thereabouts :roll:

Map is here for anyone who hasn't seen it. It's a bit fiddly to use, or at least it was in my browser, but maybe others will have better luck:

https://www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/licenc ... ng-station


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:07 pm 
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For what it's worth, these are the conditions that MoT stations have to meet to apply to become an approved garage, and it costs £150 per year :?

Wolverhampton City Council wrote:
To become an approved station, your garage must meet the following criteria:

    • Registered by DVSA as an approved test centre for at least 3 years
    • Considered a ‘green’ rated garage by DVSA
    • No links to any Hackney Carriage or Private Hire proprietor or operator licensed by City of Wolverhampton Council

In order to apply:

    • complete an application form
    • provide a cheque for £150 payable to 'City of Wolverhampton Council' (please note this fee is non-refundable).


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 7:13 pm 
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Quote:
• provide a cheque for £150 payable to 'City of Wolverhampton Council' (please note this fee is non-refundable).


just renewed one of mine yesterday only £250.70 and we have to have a compliance test which is more expensive than an MOT

No wonder Rutland and Wolverhampton are very popular for licensing cars

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 7:30 pm 
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StuartW wrote:
For what it's worth, these are the conditions that MoT stations have to meet to apply to become an approved garage, and it costs £150 per year :?

Wolverhampton City Council wrote:
To become an approved station, your garage must meet the following criteria:

    • Registered by DVSA as an approved test centre for at least 3 years
    • Considered a ‘green’ rated garage by DVSA
    • No links to any Hackney Carriage or Private Hire proprietor or operator licensed by City of Wolverhampton Council

In order to apply:

    • complete an application form
    • provide a cheque for £150 payable to 'City of Wolverhampton Council' (please note this fee is non-refundable).



Vehicles can only be tested in district that issues license, inquiry required into Wolverhampton Council as they are law breakers.


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