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Sandwell Borough Council set to rival Wolverhampton for speed of licensing. 

CTN quick post

Sandwell Borough Council is set to speed up the private hire licensing process following protests by local private hire drivers. Reports the Express Star.

Drivers are complaining that Sandwell’s licencening regime is too stringent, expensive and takes too long, compared with other districts such as Wolverhampton.

At a meeting held in Smethwick last night, drivers were threatening the council with strike action if the situation didn’t change.

According to the Express & Star, Mohammad Namiz, who represents private hire drivers in Sandwell, said:

“He believed policy differences between boroughs mean drivers will go elsewhere to get their licence but will still end up driving in Sandwell”.

In response, Councillor Elaine Costigan, cabinet member for health and protection at Sandwell Council, explained:

“The council is working to streamline our processes and improve efficiency by allowing applicants to apply online. This will speed up the process and hopefully reduce costs. Its hoped that this service will go live early in 2018.

“We are able to process a vehicle application and issue a licence within two hours if the vehicle passes the test and all other requirements are met. No other authority locally can provide this service. We have one garage at the council’s transport depot that does all the vehicle testing for the authority, but drivers are able to get their vehicle repaired elsewhere.

CTN comment…

Wolverhampton Council has been causing chaos across the Midlands in recent months because of its easy licenceing regime. Taxi drivers from Coventry to Nottingham have complained about private hire licenced in Wolvehampton flooding in to thier cities. Sandwell’s plans to make licensing easier can only be more bad news for UK taxi drivers.

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