Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, has called on the Government to bring back his Private Member’s Bill in Government time following their response to the independent Working Group’s report, “Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing Steps towards a safer and more robust system“, commissioned by the Department for Transport.
Mr Zeichner comments: “The Government have committed to introducing national enforcement powers, a national database and national minimum standards, which is a step in the right direction. However, I was disappointed to see that the Minister has only committed to doing this “when time allows“, risking further delay.“
“My Private Member’s Bill on taxi licensing would legislate for both the national database, and wider enforcement powers, and could be amended to include national mininum standards. This would be a quick and simple way to allow the Government to act – and we cannot afford to wait. The chair of the working group, Professor Mohammed Abdel-Haq, the group chair, underlines this in his introduction, stating that “undue delay would risk public safety“. This again proves the need for more robust standards in licensing, as my Private Member’s Bill would have provided – but it was talked out by a Conservative MP.“
“The Government could bring back my Bill in their own time as early as next week, which would get the wheels in motion for a safer and better regulated taxi and private hire trade. February recess has been cancelled, but no business has been announced, so this could be a productive use of the time. I have written to the Minister asking her to urge the Leader of the House to accept my Bill for Government time next week, so we can finally see some action on taxi safety.“
“We have had too much delay and prevarication. This is a hugely important industry, especially in areas where there is not 24 hour public transport. It’s a fantastic industry with a proud history, and a very important future. The problem is, there are a few people, sometimes, who are abusing the licensing system which leads to the awful incidents we’ve seen in some parts of the country. We owe it to the industry, and to passengers, to make sure that this is solved. We need to move swiftly, and I hope the Government choose to do just that.“