YEP Says: Why we need to close this private hire loophole now

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PRIVATE HIRE drivers are in a unique position of trust, transporting people around the city.

Many of their passengers are vulnerable, either through youth or old age, and they need to be protected.

So it is important that we know who the private hire drivers are and, more to the point, have the right to revoke their licences if there are well-founded concerns about them.

So it is a concern that dozens of private hire vehicles in Leeds are being driven by people with licences issued by Transport for London.

The figures were shared with councillors yesterday as they received an update on the challenges faced by enforcement officers working to clamp down on illegal activity by taxi drivers.

Of course, having a licence issued by London doesn’t make you a bad driver or a dangerous person. But what it does do is make it difficult for authorities in Leeds to take action. The council has no ability to suspend their licences if they are found breaking regulations.

Talks under way with neighbouring authorities to develop joint approach that will allow greater enforcement of rules. As one official said: “When we see vehicles licensed by other authorities driving in Leeds, we don’t know if they’re fit to drive, let alone safe to drive.”

Leeds City Council wants to change the law. Quite right. This loophole needs to be closed quickly.