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Changes to taxi licensing in Sandwell after complaints

Changes have been made in an effort to smooth the taxi licensing process in a borough following complaints from drivers.

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Taxi drivers have been left frustrated.

Sandwell Council chiefs said they had listened to the concerns of taxi drivers and were committed to helping ease their concerns.

Council leader Rajbir Singh met with members of Sandwell Private Hire Drivers' Association to discuss the changes and listen to their concerns.

Private hire drivers have been left frustrated over the past year by difficulties in renewing their licences and getting through to the council to discuss their problems. It has been claimed some cabbies were left unable to work.

Councillor Singh said new software had been introduced to make it easier for drivers to make payments and the licensing office was now open five days a week.

Face-to-face appointments with drivers were suspended last year due to the pandemic but many drivers complained they could not get through on the phone, while some were not able to use email.

Council leader Rajbir Singh.

Councillor Singh said: “The past 18 months have been a challenging time, particularly for those in the taxi trade. I would like to thank you all for your continued support and for the commitment throughout the pandemic to continue working and transporting people who needed your support to make essential journeys.

“We are listening to the drivers’ concerns and are in the process of implementing a user-friendly software system that will allow drivers to apply, track and make payments and this will bring huge benefits to them.

"In addition, the licensing office is now open five days a week for appointments where these are needed to resolve any issues and the ability to be able to pay online will be available imminently.

The council said it has also reinstated issuing renewal and expiry reminder letters and has agreed to contact all applicants within two working days of receiving their applications.

Councillor Singh said: “We are aware of the current concerns of our licensed drivers and we are working to resolve these as quickly as possible. We remain committed to providing a good quality service in a safe way for both customers and staff.”

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