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Labour pledges taxi reforms

Labour has given a manifesto promise to reform the taxi and private hire sector as it aims to drive up standards in safety, quality and employment rights.

In its 2017 election manifesto, the party said it would tackle a “rigged system” with reforms aimed at companies such as Uber and address the concerns of black-cab drivers.

The party wants to introduce national standards to “guarantee” safety and accessibility, updating regulations to keep pace with technological changes and “ensure a level playing field between operators”.

John McCallion, CEO of corporate ground transport company Groundscope, told BBT that reform in the sector is “not really required”.

“Groundscope welcome all initiatives to ensure taxis are safe and of a good standard but the introduction of a national standard seems too interventionist, we don’t have this in the hotel industry or restaurant industry.”

He added the industry needs to enforce its own rules and regulations.

“The key issue in the industry is that companies like Uber are getting round the good government legislation by claiming it not applicable to them but this legislation has been developed over time to protect passengers and ensure that they are being driven by someone who has been through a CRB vetting  process and that the driver is fully licensed and insured."

Mytaxi, global taxi booking app formerly Hailo, said it welcomes proposals by all political parties that properly regulate the sector.

Andy Jones, general manager UK, Mytaxi, told BBT: “We’re particularly concerned by the increasing difference in the cost of entry for black cab drivers compared to PHV drivers, especially when this is seen in the context of falling income. We believe that Londoners in particular value the Knowledge test that cabbies take, meaning they know the quickest way to the destination without the need for a satnav.   

We look forward to engaging with all political parties in the new parliament to make sure that the economic and social value of black cabs is properly understood, and to encourage politicians to uphold a stable and effective regulatory regime that is fit for the 21st century and that works for everyone.”

Labour shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said the current system is complex, outdated and in need of a “proper upgrade”.

“Passengers don’t have a guarantee of safety or quality, drivers are without proper employment rights and operators are competing against one another in a rigged market,” said McDonald.

"The Tories have ignored the fact that taxi and private hire vehicle regulations are out of date and have failed to act,” he added.

Airport capacity

In its manifesto Labour also touched on the long-running issue around airport capacity in the south east. It said it would only guarantee airport expansion if it adheres to the tests around noise and air quality.


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