Staff shortage leads to taxi licence freeze

A black cab
A black cab

Wigan Council has been forced to impose a temporary freeze on processing new taxi licence applications because of a sudden shortage of staff.

Town hall chiefs say the stoppage, which is set to last several weeks, were due to “unforeseen extraordinary circumstances.”

They do not expect it to affect too many people because the authority only, on average, receives a handful of new applications each month.

The temporary suspension will not affect existing taxi drivers whose licence renewal applications will continue to be processed throughout the period.

And while applications are currently suspended for new hackney carriages and private hire driver licences, the council is planning to start to accept them again after October 30.

Mark Tilley, the council’s assistant director for infrastructure and regulatory services, said: “Due to operational staffing issues we have temporarily suspended applications for licences for new drivers.

“This temporary suspension has not had a negative impact on local residents.

“We have continued to accept applications from existing drivers, and are not aware of any issues with local operators.

“If any local company does have exceptional circumstances and needs support we would ask that they contact us.

“Business should be back to normal from November and we thank members of the trade for their co-operation.”

Any would-be hackney carriage or private hire driver who feel their application circumstances do fit exceptional criteria are asked to provide full details by email to the licensing team at licensing@wigan.gov.uk.

Meanwhile, West Lancs residents can still comment on changes to taxi operations in their area. Alterations include more controls on operators that would require them to provide details of persons employed or used by them.