Birmingham, B29

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Brum taxis: lottery?

posted by pindec
You may have seen the headlines on 11th Jan about the odd criteria being applied to people applying for taxi licenses in the Midlands.

The situation in Birmingham is still unclear: the Council's newsroom website reported the story as part of its Media Watch, but there is no release about it, and we've been asking for a link to their policy on twitter, which they seem to have been ignoring. (Not even a reply saying why they don't want to give it to us). Does this mean the BBC newsroom is overworked, inept, doesn't care or is trying to avoid the issue?

The Council's own site (the newsroom is a separate bit, presumably because the expensive new content management system on the main site doesn't allow them all the functionality they need) just has links to application forms - there's no mention of what criteria will actually be applied. I'd find that a bit weird if I were applying for something ... However, there is a list of prosecutions, which mainly features driving without insurance.

So we'll do some more digging ... I can't believe the Council doesn't understand that people are concerned about this, and that it *might* be a good idea to try and be a bit more transparent? Interestingly, although the Post reported the story, they didn't get a quote off BCC. Is that cos they didn't try, or is the BCC newsroom ignoring them too?

The newsroom got back to us after a few days (still no info from the BBC actual). They stated that: "Birmingham City Council Licensing does undertake Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks for all new hackney carriage and private hire driver’s licence applicants. In addition further checks are carried out every three years for the duration of a licence".

Other points were:
  • An applicant with a conviction for any sexual offence should normally be refused.
  • An applicant with a conviction for a drug related offence should normally be refused. 
  • Applicants with driving offences can only have their license reinstated after a period of time equal to the amount of their ban after getting their driving licence back (e.g .if they were banned for 6 months, they can get their taxi licence back 6 months after getting their driving licence back). If the ban was due to drink or drugs, there's a min of 2 years.
Which is reassuring :)

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