Time to pay more for safety
Pendle ground to a halt over the weekend - well it did if you wanted to travel anywhere by taxi.
Having a new set of regulations imposed on them led to the taxi companies across the borough withdrawing their services, leaving many people high and dry.
It is difficult not to see both sides of the argument. The council wants safe cars being driven by “legal” drivers. The taxi companies want to ply their trade unmolested.
Let’s start with the taxis.
They are some of the cheapest taxis anywhere in the country.
My Brighton-based brother is always amazed that you can travel from somewhere like Barrowford to Burnley and still get change from a tenner. A similar distance where he lives would cost him twice as much.
But from personal experience, there are very, very few Pendle taxis I will ever give any money to.
Drivers incessantly chatting on their mobiles, dirty smelly cars with bits dropping off and drivers who pick up any old fare standing outside in the rain rather than making sure they have the right passengers.
I have had so many bad experiences with these firms that if I am in Pendle there are only two cars, both owned by the same firm, that I will get in - and the same is true in Burnley.
The main problem that I can see is the the council wants a certain standard of both car and driver but the operators cannot afford newer cars because the fares are too cheap.
There have been similar problems in Burnley in the past, and in other neighbouring boroughs.
The root cause of the problem? Four people wanting to get from Colne to Burnley can do so far cheaper in a taxi than on a bus.
And until that simple economical problem is sorted out between the taxi operators and the local councils the problem won’t go away.
If passenger safety is the primary concern, passengers will have to get used to the idea of paying more for it.