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Scottish Government Plan Tighter Controls For Taxi Trade

The Scottish Government has announced plans to issue tighter controls on licensing in the taxi trade in a bid to reward responsible firms while penalising rogue companies. There is an increasing level of concern over the level of criminality in the trade and the government is not happy with existing licensing conditions. New proposals have been made which aim to make the licensing process for taxi drivers stricter than ever before and these potential changes would affect booking offices, vehicles, Hackney carriage and private hire drivers. The proposals include:

  • Restricting the number of private hire cabs while also increasing the level of testing required to become a licensed private hire cab driver including a more stringent knowledge test.
  • Creation of a group that will take charge of updating licensing conditions for all aspects of the taxi trade.
  • Extending the existing licensing scheme so that it includes firms with less than four cabs and to also include cab companies without offices. All drivers used on contract will need to be included in the licensing regime.
  • Requiring applicants for any license level whether it is for a cab driving, vehicle or booking office to prove that they are ‘fit and proper’ persons.
  • Coming up with new ideas to ensure that the above proposals are enforced including licensed enforcement officers.

According to Kenny MacAskill, the Justice Secretary, these proposals will help address the concerns that have been addressed over the need for the existing licensing regime to be improved. Although most cab firms are law abiding, the new proposals aim to target criminal activity within the trade and eventually wipe it out.

MacAskill pointed out that the cab trade is extremely important to the nation’s economy and it is essential that the trade is properly regulated to ensure that the public are protected from harm. He did admit that their proposals and views were not fixed and he looks forward to an open and progressive discussion on the proposals. He said that their ultimate goal was to raise the standard of the Scottish taxi trade.

Bill McIntosh is a prominent member of the Scottish Taxi Federation and he is delighted that the proposals have been aired. He said that the organisation have been looking for such changes for a long time in a bid to improve the level of service received by passengers. He hopes that the proposals will eliminate the rogue elements of the trade and lead to a brighter future for all reputable cab firms across Scotland.

Source: scotland.gov.uk