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Should West Suffolk taxi drivers complete course before getting licence?

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Taxi sign
Taxi sign

The West Suffolk councils are asking people to give their views on whether current and future taxi drivers should have a qualification before being given a licence.

The one being considered is a City and Guilds-recognised BTEC level two which would take around 18 hours to complete.

It would cover issues relating to taxis and private hire vehicles such as health and safety, road safety, customer service, vehicle maintenance, disability awareness and assistance, fares, carrying of luggage and transporting of children and vulnerable people.

Drivers applying for a licence would initially be able to complete the course at West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds, with other locations potentially being introduced later.

The West Suffolk cabinet members responsible for licensing, Cllr Alaric Pugh and Cllr Lance Stanbury, both support the requirement for a qualification.

In a joint statement, they said: “Other areas across the country already insist on taxi and private hire drivers being able to demonstrate they understand not just laws relating to driving, but other issues which affect the safety and wellbeing of their passengers.

“They are often in a position where they can spot something unusual or potentially illegal happening, such as human trafficking, for example.

“Learning what to look out for and what to do, especially when it comes to keeping passengers safe, seems to us to be a sensible idea and we would like to know what drivers and passengers think.”

The consultation takes less than five minutes to complete and will run until August 31. It is available online at www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/consultations and printed copies are available by calling 01284 763233 or 01638 719000.