Five private hire operator firms have become the first in the East Riding to gain a five star status in a scheme designed to promote public safety and raise standards.
Home Sweet Home, based in Hornsea; Willerby Cars; All Journey Solutions, based in Beverley, Wilberfoss Travel were presented with certificates and display stickers after completing the training and assessment process.
All White Cars based in Hook have also achieved the five-star rating but were unable to attend the presentation.
The private hire operators’ mandatory accreditation scheme is the first of its kind in the country and has been implemented by East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s licensing scheme and will see operators required to display a star rating, similar to the food hygiene ratings given to food outlets.
The accreditation sticker and certificate can be prominently displayed in offices and vehicles giving the public information and reassurance that the firm they are using operates to a high standard and promotes public safety.
All operators licensed with the council will be assessed on a number of criteria and given a rating of between three and five, with three being the minimum basic requirement.
Since the scheme launched earlier this year, 76 of the existing 80 licensed private hire operators have already achieved the satisfactory three-star rating by attending free private hire law and safeguarding awareness sessions.
There are also 12 operators who are working towards the five-star rating with assessments planned for early in 2018.
The scheme is just one of a number of measures introduced this year by the council for taxis and private hire services operating in the East Riding to give protection to both customers and drivers.
These include the installation of CCTV cameras in licensed vehicles, mandatory safeguarding training and the introduction of the distinctive green and white livery on taxi vehicles.
Councillor Shaun Horton, portfolio holder for community involvement at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “I would like to offer my congratulations to those operators who have committed to the scheme and completed their five-star accreditation.
“I am really proud that East Riding of Yorkshire Council is the first in the country to implement such a scheme which raises standards and provide a real commitment providing a safe and reliable private hire service for the public.
“I hope there are many more five-star ratings to come.”
Anthony Hardwick, operator of Home Sweet Home based in Hornsea, said: “I wanted to gain the five stars so people in the area know we are a well-run, reputable company that can be trusted.
“Issues over the past few years have left some of the taxi industry with a bad reputation so a scheme like this helps give customers that reassurance and confidence.
Issues over the past few years have left some of the taxi industry with a bad reputation so a scheme like this is great as it helps give customers reassurance that we are a well-run and trustworthy business.
Jon Wray, operator of Willerby Cars, who has been operating for just 18 months, said: “We’re proud of this achievement as we always strive to do our best for the customers and this will give them some reassurance.
“I’d urge every private hire operator to take part in this scheme as it’s beneficial to everyone.”
Paul Hinton, operator of Wilberfoss Travel, said: “I take a lot of pride in the service I offer and do go that extra mile for customers.
“The taxi industry has had some bad press recently so a scheme like this really does help to raise standards and provide reassurance for the public.”
Andrew Jessop, operator of All Journey Solutions which is an executive vehicle hire company based in Beverley, said: “I’d urge everyone to take part in this scheme – it doesn’t cost anything to complete but has great benefits.
“I think it’s a good scheme to try and raise the standards and this accreditation shows the company take public safety seriously.”
Picture caption (from left to right) – Andrew Jessop, All Journey Solutions; Anthony Hardwick, Home Sweet Home; Louise Attwood, interim licensing manager at East Riding of Yorkshire Council; Paul Hinton, Wilberfoss Travel; Councillor Shaun Horton, portfolio holder for community involvement at East Riding of Yorkshire Council; Jon Wray, Willerby Cars,