Harlow Labour leader meets with Harlow Taxi drivers over licensing concerns
Business / Fri 1st Sep 2023 at 07:20am
THE LEADER OF Harlow Labour and candidate at the next General Election has met with Harlow Taxi officials over licensing concerns.
Councillor Chris Vince said: “Last weekend I met with representatives of the Harlow Licensed Drivers Welfare association with the on going issue facing taxi drivers who have been licensed in the town.
For a long time Harlow Council have demanded high standards in terms of driver knowledge and condition of vehicles, in fact higher than the national standard. However, a loop hole caused by this Conservative government’s 2015 de-regulation bill has put both of these things in jeopardy.
It now appears drivers can legally get licenses from Wolverhampton and use them to operate in our town and are already doing so. These licences are cheaper and also require a lower standard with no knowledge test at all. If you get a taxi driver who is reliant on a sat nav (which may take the shortest but not cheapest route) this could be why.
The additional issue is that Harlow council’s licensing team cannot regulate these taxis. Drivers who have a licence from Harlow were subject to regular checks, if you have a license from Wolverhampton this is the responsibility of their council. Sadly Harlow is a bit of a way away for them to come on a night out!
Although the Conservative’s bill makes this practise from taxi operators legal it is not sustainable and ultimately it is the people of Harlow who will suffer.
I have written to Harlow Council to express my concerns about this issue and hope that a solution can be found, I will also bring this issue to the next full council. However, if elected as your MP I will work with the next Labour government to form a more permanent solution to an issue caused by a short sighted Conservative government.
“In the meantime, when booking a taxi in Harlow, tell the operator you only want a driver and vehicle with a Harlow Council taxi licence’.
So writing to Harlow Council about a comparatively obscure matter which you yourself acknowledge they have little influence sounds like a complete waste of time and is you just creating a platform for self promotion. As the prospective Labour candidate for Harlow have you not noticed that during the past few days residents have been far more worried about the illegal travellers causing havoc at Berecroft. The silence of you and your party on this has been noted. Don't take us for idiots!
No fan of Labour of Course but I personally think this was a good issue that Cllr Vince has raised and the last sentence is one that everyone booking a taxi in Harlow should take notice of. In the meantime, Council officers and the police have dealt with the travellers, no need for Councillors to get involved or even make a comment, the law has taken it's course.
Hi Chris, I met with 20 drivers over 6 weeks ago, have dealt with the Department for Transport, other councils and much in between. I have given drivers a weekly update every week since on a whole host of issues. The difference is I didn't make a fanfare or political capital. I'm just dealing with the issue.
Margaret you say Councillor Vince - "So writing to Harlow Council about a comparatively obscure matter which you yourself acknowledge they have little influence sounds like a complete waste of time". Are you saying the comment from Councillor Swords then is him wasting his time for the last 6 weeks? I also seem to remember you commenting the other day on the article on Yourharlow about Councillor Saggers and SFG, you mentioned cabs then, let me remind you - "Phil, I do understand your frustration, but the logical implication is that when you buy a plane ticket, you will undertake full due diligence on the pilot, if you contract a builder you personally will check all his credentials, if you call a cab, you personally will check his licence and driving record, etc, etc. Not very realistic, is it? That is why we have professional advisers/specialists who should be held to account for any of their failings". You obviously think its a waste of time and don't agree with councillor Vince, but I think Councillor Vince is giving good advice about checking the cab you book does have a registered Harlow licence. Councillor Swords has been dealing with this for over 6 weeks he says, and has not advised the residents of that idea. Good job we have Councillor Vince!!! Sad but your last sentence in your comment above should read "Do", not "Don't".
Phil, Clearly Cllr Vince has nothing much else too do other than to seek any platform to promote himself. We all know his letter will go straight in the bin and have no impact. He just seeking to give the impression of concern and action. Having failed to be selected on Southend and Colchester, he has to try to appear credible in his third choice of Harlow, where he must have been the only candidate! At least Council Leader, Dan Swords is actually doing things that matter to residents and regenerating the town centre left in ruins by Cllr Vince's party. As for the last sentence, "Don't " is perfectly correct on the context.
What’s that Dan? No fanfare? Bit rich that criticism coming from you. Didn’t fancy your usual photo op wearing your hard hat and hi-vis on the cab rank?
Oh Margaret, seem to have hit a nerve there!! A very firm, and dare I say it masculine response!! If you know his letter will go straight in the bin and have no impact, why has Councillor swords been wasting his time then? He says "Hi Chris, I met with 20 drivers over 6 weeks ago, have dealt with the Department for Transport, other councils and much in between. I have given drivers a weekly update every week since on a whole host of issues. The difference is I didn't make a fanfare or political capital. I'm just dealing with the issue". So firstly James you decided to avoid my question on him wasting his time? Secondly there appears now to be a lot of issues which as residents should we not be aware of? Anyway as I say, thankfully we have Councillor Vince giving good advice on a subject you believe is a clear waste of time, and the Council Leader, who you appear to be backing has wasted 6 weeks on and not enlightened anyone on all of the issues (plural). Im sure Chris will look into it for us and advise on all the issues.
Why is it when mini Boris says he is doing something, the response is usually well done. When Chris Vince says he is doing something it’s for publicity, same people differing response. I am not sure how many council sponsored photo shoots Chris Vince has had. Only one of these leaders will likely have a promotional calendar sent to Harlow houses next year, paid for by us.
With yet another slinging match occuring between councillors? Surely not, need it be reminded that we were silenced or censored during the LGA marvellous PR stunt of "debate not hate" on the lead up to elections, this was designed to stop the public from abusing local governing persons. "7 in 10 councillors reported experiencing abuse or intimidation in the last year according to the LGA's 2022 councillor census". Can I ask does this scheme exempt councillor on councillor abuse?
As usual the renowned Tory slammer and general factotum, C V, espies another chance to put the boot in again. Perhaps he isn't aware that responsibility for documentation relating to hire of cab drivers rests, with the company who cares to employ them.
You all seem to have missed the most important point of all this. I costs a lot to get a private Hire License in Harlow, these out of town drivers pay a small price for licenses, have no knowledge of the town, and no regular checks carried out on their vehicles or spot checks as Harlow licensed drivers. So are their cars always in a safe state? But the main thing none of you have thought about in your comments is, they are taking money from Harlow drivers, drivers that have taken a knowledge tests have cars that up to Harlow council safety standards. Harlow drivers are loosing work unfairly. Support local drivers. Ask for a Harlow Licensed Driver.
SB makes a good point. This loophole needs to be closed. Open and fair competition is to be encouraged always, but not at the expense of lowering standards for consumers or on an unfair basis. As Cllr Swords states, this can be addressed without cheap political point scoring as Cllr Vince has resorted to. It requires technical analysis rather than cheap populist soundbites and meaningless gestures.
It explains the p*ss poor driving skills too. I’m a learner driver and I’ve been cut up by many of these out of town drivers! Their cars are covered in dents and they don’t have a clue how to use a mini roundabout! I’d be willing to bet half of them haven’t even taken a driving test themselves! Pretty disgusting that Harlow firms are employing these drivers, I guess money means more than safety these days!
I think it's wrong that We have outer town cabs that don't even do a knowledge of harlow it's wrong
I've got a cab the other day It's so happened to be an out of town cab working for metro cars the gentleman never had a clue where he was going.
To be honest I think a lot of people are uneducated on the perspective of out-of-town plates these individuals that hold private hire licenses from other authorities actually live in Harlow and haven’t gone to Harlow for their license and it’s completely legal. It’s up to them where they get their license from Harlow is expensive and even though these individuals hold licenses with other authorities, their cars are still held to the same standards and have an annual MOT and compliance test. Just like Harlow does there is completely no difference, you talk about enforcement Harlow Council haven’t done any private hire enforcement in this town for nearly 4 years. With people flooding to use Uber, I don’t think the community really care. Local operators are expanding their businesses and giving people employment and job security. If they had a steady flow of Harlow licensed drivers they wouldn’t need to look to employ drivers from other authorities to service the public in a timely fashion, or to the best of their ability, they clearly need more drivers to compete with Ubers service and Harlow council are not providing them. I respect whoever is doing this as long as they are improving their service to the community as let’s face it trying to get a cab in the morning or early afternoon has become a joke. I’m in for Support of their movement. I can guarantee there are at least 30+ Harlow licensed drivers that don’t even live in Harlow. So your argument of taking income away from harlow people is ridiculous!