Now we are putting lives at risk

YET again I read another negative story relating to the taxi industry, if it's not unsafe cars, then it's drivers out to con everybody, and now we are putting lives at risk

YET again I read another negative story relating to the taxi industry, if it's not unsafe cars, then it's drivers out to con everybody, and now we are putting lives at risk

I am writing this response, but am pretty sure that it won't get printed as it would not reflect your gripping headline in a positive light.

With regards to double shifts, all drivers are sub contractors to a taxi company, and they rent time slots from those firms, i.e. 6am to 6pm, but these time slots cover 12 hour shifts, and the driver works the hours they want within this time slot, and within the 10 years I have been in the trade, I am yet to come across a company that allows a driver to work outside of the slot they rent. Computer programmes such as the one Apple Central taxis use automatically switches a driver's unit off so they cannot receive work if the driver tries to exceed their rented time frame.

As for the increase in licences being issued, previous recessions have always resulted in an influx of drivers into the trade, and the council had their hands tied by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) 2003 report, and the only way they can legally regulate the number of hackney licences is to spend tens of thousands pounds of taxpayers money on a survey, which Central Government may still reject, and this still would not resolve the number of private hire vehicles, (which no council in the country has the power to regulate with or without a survey). In 2007 the OFT admitted their initial report was flawed, but by then policies had been adopted by councils.


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The trade is at present working with the licensing department in a positive manner to address some of the policies that have left loop holes that can be abused by those with less morals who are struggling to obtain licences in neighbouring areas, and we are pleased that the planning and regulatory committee have granted the licensing department a consultation period to address issues that affect the public and the trade.

I can assure the public that the vast majority of the trade are professional, and alongside licensing work very hard to ensure public safety, and if our passengers are not safe then neither are we.

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It would be nice if the Mercury wrote a positive story about the trade and those people who work within it, like the night I came across an elderly gentleman in Worle High Street, about 1am covered in blood. It turns out he had fallen about 11pm and remained unconscious for two hour. Who spent an hour with him? Who then took him to the hospital and checked him in.

Next time a driver helps an elderly person home and makes them a cup of tea, then spends time with them, because that weekly shop they do is the only contact they have with the outside world, maybe the Mercury would like to report that?

Like I told a bus driver who was being abusive once, whilst I helped an elderly lady with a Zimmer frame, one day it could be his mum or him I am helping.

JOHN JOHNSTONE

Prescot Close, Weston

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