Taxi drivers should be having more extensive criminal background checks according to a report by the Task and Finish Group with support from the Department of Transport.
Local authorities are currently responsible for judging someone to be “fit and proper” to be given a license to drive a taxi, this would be enforced by the City of Lincoln Council.
The report has stated that the current laws regulating taxi drivers are “not fit for the modern world.” It also states that safety precautions such as CCTV in taxis should be taken, which may also be for the benefit of the driver – along with many other recommendations to make checks for taxi drivers up to date.
Some Lincoln residents have had bad experiences whilst travelling via taxi in the city.
Ms Patricia Kerrigan from Lincoln was in a taxi around the time of the Brexit vote, making small talk the driver asked her which way she voted. They had opposing views and the driver became irate so Patricia asked him to stop the car so she could get out. The driver proceeded to lock the doors.
Ms Kerrigan said: “I told him to unlock the doors and he didn’t, he kept saying he would take me to my destination which he did but I was terrified texting my boyfriend locations and updates.”
On the other hand, Ms Claire Marie’s partner is a taxi driver in the city and she said: “He has to fork out a lot of money to renew his license with the council every year which you would assume would mean that they could weed out anyone dangerous.”
The City of Lincoln Council have given a statement about the steps that they take when providing someone with a license.
Will Allen, a licensing officer said: “Driver applicants are required to be over 21 years of age and have held a driving licence for at least 2 years, complete an enhanced DBS (criminal record) check, a driving licence check, achieve at least 80% on a local area knowledge test, achieve a low risk standard on a driving assessment and provide a satisfactory medical report.”
Mr Allen added: “Once a licence has been granted DBS check are carried out every 3 years and driving licence checks every year. Medicals must be provided every 5 years once a driver turns 45 and every year thereafter when they turn 65.”
The Task and Finish report can be accessed here.