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Fears raised over taxi passenger safety

PUBLISHED: 12:28 20 November 2008 | UPDATED: 10:16 23 August 2010

A TAXI group representing drivers in the borough claims passenger safety is at risk because licences for private hire vehicles are being misused. The United Taxi Group, say people in Gravesham could be travelling uninsured in cars marked as Restricted Pr

A TAXI group representing drivers in the borough claims passenger safety is at risk because licences for private hire vehicles are being misused.

The United Taxi Group, say people in Gravesham could be travelling uninsured in cars marked as Restricted Private Hire Vehicles. Vehicles displaying the green plates have different regulations to the Hackney Carriage licence and normal Private Hire Vehicles.

A Restricted Private Hire Vehicle allows drivers to take journeys either to or from outside the borough, not journeys from point to point within the borough. It also prevents them from picking up passengers who flag them down.

Rick Davis, 54, spokesperson for UTG, said: "We have very credible evidence to show that many of these vehicles displaying a green restricted licence plate are, in fact, carrying out a great deal of normal private hire work for which payment is made directly to the driver at the end of the journey.

"None of the holders of these green licences had to sit a local street knowledge test, like all other licence holders and far more worrying for the general public is that the insurance they carry is invalidated if they do carry out this work."

UTG say some of the Restricted Private Hire Vehicle drivers may even be unaware of the restrictions and is urging the council to raise awareness.

A spokesperson for the council said they had issued 50 of the Restricted Private Hire Vehicle licences under the 1976 Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, and they are typically used on school and airport runs. He said: "To date no conclusive evidence has been supplied to the council regarding an alleged transgression by any individual restricted private hire licence holder. The council would act and will act if there were any such evidence. The council would also like to take this opportunity to inform people that any private hire vehicle bearing a green licence plate or a restricted licence is not permitted to take fare-paying passengers from one point in the borough to another.

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