The new rules for Manchester taxi drivers including the dress code for drivers, CCTV, and Vehicle colour will be a “one step too far” for the industry, which has suffered a lot during the pandemic era.
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) informed about the proposed minimum licensing standards for carriage and private hire vehicles. If this proposal is approved, all black cabs and taxis licensed by the 10 boroughs in Greater Manchester will need to follow new norms.
The new standards that cover drivers and vehicles were welcomes by the public, but some cabbies ruled out the acceptance. The proposal comes with Clean Air Zone introduced across the city-region, which means taxi drivers having non-compliant vehicles will face a daily fee.
Licensing manager Joanne Brockley told councilors that the total responses were quite disappointing despite encouraging the taxi trade.
58 percent of hackney drivers and 57 percent of private hire divers agreed with these proposals, which talks about protecting the public. Furthermore, age limit, CCTV, and emissions received about 88 percent of the public.
For operator standards, 95 percent of public responses received were in favor of 67 pc and 65 pc respectively for hackney and private hire drivers.
According to the Wigan council officers, new standards were supposed to pass in April but are now being delayed to January 2022. However, councilors were not satisfied with the timing of releasing the proposal.
Hindley councilor John Blay said it doesn’t make sense to impose new standards without financial support for drivers affected due to lockdown.
However, the government is entirely committed to providing funding for upgrading affected vehicles, including taxis, vans, and buses – at least six months before the Clean Air Zone comes into force, the government has not yet confirmed the level of funding.
According to Hindley Green councilor John Vickers, this financial support is for Clean Air Zone requirement differs from new standards.
In a statement he said, “The simple fact is that our taxi drivers are going to be seriously disadvantaged by the minimum standards which we as an authority are going to be putting in at the same time as the Clean Air Zone.”
Similarly, the statement from TFGM says, Taxis and private hire services will play an important role in Greater Manchester’s plans for a fully joined-up and environmentally friendly transport system.
“A progress report on the proposed Minimum Licensing Standards and outputs of last year’s consultation will be considered by leaders over the summer.”