They are, in the main, honest, decent hard-working individuals who we trust to get us where we need to be safely, reliably and amiably.
After a night on the town - perhaps when we can be at our most, let’s say ‘vulnerable’, we rely on their discretion and professionalism, and to the elderly who will not or cannot drive or are not able to walk to the bus stop, they can be a lifeline. They are many in numbers - but there a few whose activities risk damning the reputation of all.
We are, of course, talking about taxi drivers. Where would we be without them?
They’ve not had a good press nationally - due to the fact that in some areas drivers have been linked to groups involved in child grooming and exploitation. Indeed, these headline-hitting stories have led many becoming victims themselves - suffering from abuse, targeted attacks and racism. It is incumbent on all local authorities and the police to ensure rogue elements of the industry are rooted out, for the sake of the public - and for the sake of those trying to earn an honest living.
And that’s why we should welcome a new West Yorkshire-wide cross-council ‘task force’ to help police the taxi and private hire trade, with a regional database of drivers helping clamp down on rogue elements.
It follows a controversial deregulation of the trade, which has led to increased concerns about tightening up of safety issues, especially in relation to those at risk of sexual grooming and trafficking.
Council bosses hope a new cross-border agreement - and database of drivers - will add to their armoury of enforcement powers.
And while resources to ‘police’ the industry are a concern, this surely has to be welcomed by the public - and drivers - alike.