‘Unfair!’ Taxi drivers hit out at ‘draconian’ penalty points proposal

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Harrogate Borough Council wants to get the proposal approved today in a move they say is “reasonable” and will improve safety for passengers. However, taxi drivers argue that the policy is too severe and will result in a loss of drivers in the area.

Kevin O’Boyle, owner of Central Taxis, described the proposals as “draconian” and said it will become “far too easy” for drivers to lose their licences.

He also argued cabbies are more likely to pick up points than regular road users because they spend more time on the roads.

Mr O’Boyle said: “There’s a serious shortage of taxi drivers and this just isn’t going to help.

“I’ve done between two and a half million and three million miles, and the chances of me getting points are much greater than the average driver.

“If you’re driving in a strange place that you don’t know too well, it’s easy to drift over the speed limit by a couple of miles per hour,” he told the Harrogate Advertiser.

Under the proposals, taxi drivers would be given the opportunity to argue their side and give reasons why their licence should not be revoked.

Currently, the council said licences are reviewed on “an individual basis when points accumulate”.

The council added that there is no minimum or maximum time that licences can be revoked for, and that drivers can re-apply at any time.

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Speaking at a recent meeting, Gareth Bentley, licensing manager at Harrogate Borough Council, said while he recognised the concerns over a reduction in drivers, this had to be balanced against the safety of passengers.

He added that taxi drivers have to be treated differently to regular road users as “they are in an elevated position in terms of looking after people’s safety.”

Mr Bentley said: “There is a higher responsibility and a higher need for us to ensure safety.”

The proposals have been put forward as part of new statutory standards from the Department for Transport which all councils are expected to adopt unless there are “compelling reasons” not to.

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