All taxi drivers in Rotherham now meet a set of licencing guidelines brought in to help ensure a high quality service – with who failed to comply having their licences suspended by the council.
There has been increasing work done to regulate cab drivers in recent years, with those granted a licence expected to meet a range of criteria, including passing background checks, completing safeguarding training and using taxi cameras in their vehicles.
All drivers must also hold a BTEC, or equivalent, qualification and that was the area where progress was incomplete, though the council’s ruling Cabinet has now been told that for the last two months, 100 per cent of the town’s cabbies have been meeting all four criteria.
Coun Emma Hoddinott told the Cabinet: “I think that is really positive. If they have not complied, they have been suspended.”
Earlier this year, there were 29 drivers with licences suspended, but now all have proved they have the BTEC qualification needed, the meeting was told.
Enforcement action to ensure taxis and private hire vehicles are operating correctly has leapt by 300 per cent recently, following the appointment of new staff, resulting in an increase in action taken against cab operators, with 12 suspension notices issued.
Four drivers have had licences revoked or suspended because of concerns about their fitness to hold a Rotherham Council licence and two private hire operators have been given formal warnings about their conduct, with five more dealt with informally.
There are four more investigations still ongoing.
Rotherham Council officials are also involved in a national project to compile a national database of applicants who have had licences refused, or drivers with licences who have had them revoked or suspended.
The aim is to make it more difficult for drivers to move between districts to obtain a licence, then use it to work in a different area.
That work follows concerns raised by Rotherham Council with the Department for Transport over the issue.