Leeds has introduced a new council pilot scheme to address concerns raised by taxi and private hire drivers regarding the current single-operator model. Under this pilot, Leeds taxi and private hire drivers will now have the opportunity to work for two private hire operators, bringing the city in line with neighbouring authorities.

The existing single-operator model had caused disparities for Leeds drivers compared to those licensed outside the city, who were allowed to work for multiple operators in Leeds. This change aims to level the playing field and provide fairer conditions for all drivers.

The pilot will run for a duration of up to 24 months, during which the council will test various policy changes related to dual operators. These changes include allowing Leeds licensed drivers to work for two operators simultaneously, removing the requirement for windscreen livery, and exploring options for displaying stickers representing both operators on the sides of vehicles.

This move is expected to provide a significant boost to private hire drivers in Leeds, particularly during the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

Upon completion of the pilot and thorough consultation, a final decision will be made regarding the permanent amendment of relevant driver, operator, and vehicle conditions. The goal is to permit taxi and private hire drivers licensed within Leeds to continue working for dual operators in the long term.

Leeds City Council’s deputy leader and executive member for resources and Safer Leeds Councillor Debra Coupar said, “The dual operator pilot is a great opportunity for the council to test out a new approach and I hope the changes will give drivers licensed in Leeds a much-needed boost during the cost-of-living crisis.

“We will continue to work closely with the trade, operators and travelling public to ensure licensing policies and conditions strike the correct balance between ensuring public safety and quality of service whilst also proactively supporting taxi and private hire drivers in Leeds.“