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“Wild West” taxis must be regulated says GMB

Union urging backing for local taxi and private hire drivers at TUC Congress in face of flood of unregulated out-of-town ‘cowboy’ operators. Comment Mick Rix, GMB National Officer for Taxi and Private Hire Drivers.

GMB, the professional drivers’ union, and taxi and private hire drivers from Brighton and the south coast will today be seeking support from delegates at TUC Congress for badly needed reform of regulation of taxi and private hire driving.

The union said the drive would halt the ‘Wild West’ situation brought about by deregulation of the taxi and private hire industry. Brighton and Hove, in common with and many other major towns and cities across the UK, is being besieged by a flood of out-of-town cars and taxi operators, which are touting for businesses in areas where they are not licensed to operate.

Local councils claim they are powerless to prevent the hundreds of out-of-town cars and taxi operators flooding into Brighton every weekend, who are not licensed to operate in the city. Each week hundreds of cars can be seen touting for businesses in Brighton, and other UK towns and cities where drivers are licensed in London, and have no knowledge of the local area.

This is creating serious safeguarding issues for the public, where the public at large do not know if they are in a licensed car driven by a locally licensed driver. Mick Rix, GMB National Officer for Taxi and Private Hire Drivers, said: “The UK taxi and private hire industry is becoming a new ‘Wild West’ with unscrupulous operators exploiting politicians’ failure to regulate properly.”

“We are calling for backing to reform for the UK taxi and private hire industry – the local trade in Brighton, like in so many towns and cities in the UK, is under increasing threat from out-of-town cowboys. The anything goes approach is destroying good – and safe, locally licensed – drivers’ jobs and earnings.

“Safeguarding is being put seriously at risk on a daily basis, with confidence that cars and drivers are locally licensed being steadily eroded. These companies exploit the public by ignoring locally agreed fares set by authorities, and they exploit drivers by encouraging excessive working hours.”