Taxis to display licensing stickers as council bids to improve public safety

Taxis in Wakefield will have to display licensing stickers on their outside doors to improve public safety.

Wakefield Council wants private hire vehicles to have certification cleary and  prominently on view, so customers can be reassured.

Local authorities across West Yorkshire are working their way through a set  of new taxi rules which will eventually cover the whole region.

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But it’s likely to be taxi companies, rather than taxpayers, that foot the bill for the stickers.

Wakefield’s licensing committee chair, Councillor Martyn Johnson said that the move was an important step towards safeguarding the public.

He said: “When people are coming out of an establishment late at night they will be able to see that the vehicle they’re getting into is licensed.

“But the public safety is paramount, especially for lone travellers and especially for young girls.

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“If they are pushed out of the car, as happened in my ward a few years ago, at least they will be able to see a number on the outside of the car.”

Taxi drivers have recently been in dispute with the council over a rise in licensing fees and tough new rules on emissions, which would force any cab made before September 2016 off Wakefield’s roads.

But Coun Johnson said he was keen to work with the industry.

He added: “We’ve had one meeting with them recently, which was interesting.

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“I think this is going to be a long process but I want this area to be top of the list on this issue.

“I want our drivers to be ambassadors for the city and to promote the city.

“I’d like to sit down and work with them rather than drag them along because I think things get done much quicker that way.

“There’s been a lot of bad publicity regarding vehicle criteria, but I’m hoping we don’t go down that road again.”

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But Wajid Ali, co-chairman of the Wakefield District Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Association, which represents drivers, accused the council of not engaging with them.

He said: “The police are perfectly happy with the vehicles as they are, but the council has a problem with them.

“The council’s got no knowledge in the trade or of the vehicles.

“We’ve been used as a cash cow for a number of years and they won’t sit down and talk to us on a level playing field.”