Friday, October 24, 2014

Questions In The Commons.


John Cryer (Leyton and Wanstead, Labour)

What steps he is taking to improve passenger safety in taxis and private hire vehicles.

 

Robert Goodwill (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport); Scarborough and Whitby, Conservative)

The Government’s principal role in relation to taxis and private hire vehicles is to ensure that the legislative framework and the guidance to licensing authorities are fit for purpose. Our best practice guidance for licensing authorities stresses the importance of adequate safety checks and enforcement to ensure that these services are safe.

 

John Cryer (Leyton and Wanstead, Labour)

But the Government are also planning to allow taxi operators to subcontract calls to other taxi operators without consent. What implications will that have for safety, especially for women?

 

 

Robert Goodwill (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport); Scarborough and Whitby, Conservative)

All the taxis will have been licensed, albeit by a neighbouring authority. I cannot see the difference between getting into a minicab in York to go to Scarborough, so I am being driven around Scarborough in a York minicab, and a firm in Scarborough ordering a York cab for me because it is so busy owing to the success of our resort.

 

Julian Smith (Skipton and Ripon, Conservative)

I urge the Government to look one more time at the provisions in the Deregulation Bill, which is currently before the Lords. In northern towns such as Skipton, taxis have been a key part of the problem of child sexual exploitation.

 

Robert Goodwill (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport); Scarborough and Whitby, Conservative)

It is up to licensing authorities to carry out all the necessary checks. If people who are not the designated driver are driving vehicles, it is a matter for enforcement. The changes that the Government propose would make no difference to that.


Editorial comment:

Robert Goodwill mentioned the word "ENFORCEMENT" twice in this report.


When any authority dishes out licences/permits/authorisation, etc, it is absolutely essential that that authority has a stringent and efficient ENFORCEMENT programme fully operational and effective, built into the structure.


Without it, abuse and total breakdown of compliance is the obvious outcome.


London is a classic and prime example of what happens when a Government Authority dish out licences, without first ensuring that an adequate and effective ENFORCEMENT programme is backing it.


TFL have an Enforcement Team, but we have seen them in operation, absolutely woeful.


I have extensive contacts in elite security operations, and believe me, if any of TFL's Enforcement & Compliance Team gave their CV's to my contacts, they would be laughed out of town !


Massively inadequate compliance, ludicrously off target most of the time and an appalling rate of successful prosecutions.


So although Robert Goodwill mentions the need for active enforcement, actually acquiring a professional unit capable of serving the remit, is a different ball game.


8829 Semtex