A veteran Sheffield taxi boss has stressed ‘safety must be paramount’ after it was revealed hundreds of drivers had licences granted from councils as far as three hours drive away.
Network Taxis boss Jahan Dad, who has run the firm in Meadowhead for 25 years, reassured customers they have ‘robust measures’ in place to ensure drivers are fit and proper.
Network mainly uses drivers with North East Derbyshire and Sheffield licence plates, councils with higher standards and more rigorous tests than others across the country.
The Star revealed more than 700 Sheffield drivers were given taxi licences from councils hundreds of miles away.
Coun Bryan Lodge, cabinet member for environment at Sheffield Council, said drivers refused a licence in Sheffield were ‘simply obtaining a licence from other local authorities and then coming back and working in Sheffield’.
But Mr Dad reassured customers his drivers had been through rigorous checks before they driving under the Network name.
Mr Dad, aged 60, who has operating licences from Sheffield and North East Derbyshire councils, said ‘safety’ and ‘good communication’ is vital.
He said he ‘fully understood’ the issue surrounding cars with licences from Rossendale after figures showed 414 Sheffield drivers had licences from the Lancashire Council.
Mr Dad said: “We’ve been here 25 years, we offer a good service. Our drivers are thoroughly checked for proper licensing conditions, insurance and have gone through a strict CRB check.
“I’d say to our customers who use our North East Derbyshire taxis is we have no problems. We are proud of what we do and we want to continue to doing so - we’re very passionate about what we do.”
Mr Dad’s nephew, Hammed Affzal, 32, added: “We do everything above board.
“There is a lot to do to get a licence for North East Derbyshire – it’s a very similar test to the one in Sheffield, it’s very rigorous.
“We do a maths test, an English test, you can’t just jump in a taxi and off you go.
“We understand where people are coming from when they see plates from places like London but if people in Dronfield need a taxi to Sheffield train station then you’ll obviously see North East Derbyshire plates knocking around in Sheffield.”