Cold cabbies should ‘get an overcoat’ instead of using car heaters
Thursday 8th November 2018 @ 10:03 by Lauren Entwistle
News

Cabbies should ‘get an overcoat’ in winter instead of keeping their engines running to keep warm while waiting in taxi ranks, licensing bosses have claimed.

Charlotte Green, local democracy reporter.

Under a proposal by the chair of Oldham’s licensing committee, Councillor Norman Briggs, a new condition could be introduced by the town hall to stop vehicles idling in a bid to tackle air pollution.

Coun Briggs said drivers should be prevented from keeping their cabs ticking over to use the heaters, adding it was ‘tough’ if they were cold.

“They’re getting no sympathy from me,” he told committee members. “Get an overcoat.”

John Garforth, the council’s trading standards and licensing manager, said it would be possible to introduce a ‘no idling while waiting’ policy, adding they understood why drivers did it during the winter months.

“I’m not justifying why they do it, they are adding to the problem like any other vehicle. That’s why you’ve got cut-out cars now for that very reason,” he said.

He joked the council could instead ‘buy them all a coat or a pair of gloves’.

“I can certainly get a message out to the trade on idling. When we come to consult on revised conditions I can see the importance of that and it may well form part of the Greater Manchester conditions,” Mr Garforth told members.

“If it doesn’t for some reason we can we can put that as a local consideration and bring that back to a future meeting to make a decision on it if that’s something you want to introduce.”

Coun Briggs said they were ‘definitely interested’ in introducing the measure to stop the practice.

He highlighted the taxi rank at Tommyfield in Oldham town centre as one of the places where it was a regular issue.

Coun Briggs said: “It’s become a bit of a hobby horse for me, I went up this morning and there are three taxis on the rank all with the engines running.

“They’re not getting any sympathy for me on that one, I worked outside for years and years when I was in contracting on building sites. They’re getting no sympathy from me.”

Mr Garforth is heading up the Greater Manchester-wide project which aims to bring in minimum standards for taxi drivers across all ten boroughs.

He said that a key focus was looking at how the trade linked to poor air quality in the region.

“Headlines have already been reported that air pollution across Greater Manchester contributes to early deaths of around 1,200 people,” he said.

“And licensed vehicles of which there are 12,000 licensed by the ten GM authorities covering the population of 2.8m. Between those vehicles they do 21,000 jobs a year from GM.

“So they are a large transport provider just like the other transport providers that we have across the conurbation.”

He added that some vehicles already licensed are compliant with EU emissions standards, but others are not.

“It’s a huge project that hopefully will contribute to a better scheme and particularly with the air quality, a better health across Greater Manchester,” he said.

“Because we can’t generally see particles as you’re walking around – it’s not like China where there is a smog, or in the 50s and 60s – but it’s there, it’s in the air and we are breathing it in on a regular basis.”

The minimum Greater Manchester standards could see a common livery introduced for private hire vehicles.

Mr Garforth said that in a survey of residents, 85 pc were in favour of a form of common identification which would help them recognise the ones licensed locally.