Taxi safety standards drive forward

18 Nov 2021 04:08
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THE final set of standards that taxis and private hire vehicles licensed by Greater Manchester's local authorities, including Bolton, will be expected to meet by 2024 have been published.

There will be local transition arrangements to help smooth the path for owners of vehicles, as well as funding from the GM Clean Air Plan to help locally licensed vehicle owners to upgrade to lower emission vehicles.

The minimum licensing standards have been designed to make taxi and private hire services safer and more customer focused as well as meeting high environmental and accessibility standards.

They cover drivers, operators and vehicles, and local licensing authorities and aim to strengthen public confidence in a well-regulated and locally licensed taxi and private hire sector and help secure their long-term future.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: "The hackney and private hire sector in Greater Manchester is huge.

"Together they provide more trips than Metrolink or local rail. And it's a vital transport service for many, and often serving vulnerable people, such as taking children to school or people back from a night out.

"That's why it's so crucial that we ensure services are safe so that passengers know that every Greater Manchester-registered vehicle, driver and operator have been checked to a high standard.

"We've considered all the views, suggestions and insights given during the public consultation last year and amended the proposed standards to ensure that they work for everybody.

"It's now really important to see them soon come into force. We want to support the sector as we are absolutely committed to improving air quality, reducing carbon emissions and improving standards for our locally licensed fleets."

He added: "Now we are fully focused on our next challenge which is to close the legal loophole that allows out of town private hire vehicle drivers and vehicle owners to operate here, dodging these regulations.

"We're taking action locally, but we need the right regulatory tools to support the trade move to cleaner, more accessible vehicles and that customers are protected by having private hire locally regulated."

"One way that people will be able to recognise a Greater Manchester licensed vehicle is to look out for the prominent branding on the sides and on the bonnet. We want to encourage people to insist on using a GM licensed vehicle, when they book a private hire by phone or via an app.

"We also agreed that Greater Manchester will pursue a single colour vehicle policy for Greater Manchester-licensed private hire vehicles.

"This would make the locally licensed fleet more immediately visible, as a crucial part of an integrated transport offer and help visibly reassure passengers that the vehicle and driver meet our high licensing standards.

"But we do recognise the strong response from the trade to this issue, and as a result we will move progressively toward this ambition."

Greater Manchester has also secured more than £20million to help GM-licensed taxi and private hire vehicle owners, drivers and operators to switch to cleaner vehicles.

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