More checks on taxi drivers

Taxi drivers could face more inspections coming in and out of Sunderland under new rules aimed at keeping their passengers safer.

Monday, 10th June 2019, 18:04 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 19:59 pm
Taxis operating in Sunderland could face more checks under the plans.

Sunderland City Council is looking to sign-up to a taxi licensing agreement with the North East region's 11 other councils, which could mean the drivers could face more inspections once they leave the city.

Taxis not from Sunderland would also face inspections if they enter the city.

The new agreement is being introduced to help bring about more effective regulation of the trade across the North East region.

It follows councils expressing concerns about the increasing numbers of taxis licensed by other councils often operating in their areas.

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These 'out of area' vehicles are not subject to the regulations of the council in the area they are working in.

Sunderland City Council's Cabinet is looking at the regional agreement when it meets next Tuesday, June 18.

It is part of a wider on-going national review of taxi licensing arrangements.

Councillor Amy Wilson, the council's cabinet member for environment and transport, said: "As the report to cabinet sets out, there have been recent and national concerns relating to the safeguarding of vulnerable adults and children.

"These are draft statutory guidance and haven’t yet been adopted by government but there is a will to adopt these as local policies

"This council, as are others up and down the country, is reviewing its taxi licensing functions to further reflect these guidelines and new powers.

“Our review is considering mandatory safeguarding training for drivers and further checks for if a driver is a 'fit and proper person'.

"This North East Memorandum of Understanding is very much a first stage of this licensing review process.

“It is all about ensuring more effective regulation of the taxi trade and protecting the public."

As of end of May 2019, there are 347 Hackney Carriages in Sunderland, 443 Private Hire vehicles and 1,165 drivers.