Taxi drivers in Wirral have been banned from wearing tracksuits, flip-flops or dirty clothing under a new dress code introduced by the council.
Licensing committee councillors voted in favour of the guidelines after members expressed shock at the appearance of some drivers.
It means Hackney carriage and private hire cabbies must follow a list of acceptable standards of dress.
The code, described by Unite union as “over the top”, is not legally binding.
Licensing Committee chair, Councillor Sue Taylor, came up with the idea after members said they were shocked at the “state” of some drivers appearing before their panel.
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Unacceptable dress standards
* Bare chests
* Unclean/damaged clothing
* Clothing with offensive logos
* Beach-type footwear
* Unsuitable tracksuits
* Uncovered offensive tattoos
She told the BBC the council wanted to “raise the bar” and improve the image of the borough’s cabbies.
“We’re not looking for top hat and tails or anything outlandish, it really is just to smarten up,” said Mrs Taylor.
“We don’t want tracksuits, we don’t want torn clothing, we don’t want drivers sat in a vest – it’s just not acceptable.
“We just want a bit more of a professional image for the people who live here, visit here and bring business here.”
According to the committee, the code has the support of the taxi Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) and the Unite union.
However, Derek Cummins of the Unite taxi section, described it as a qualified welcome, branding the council’s final approved dress code as “ludicrous” and over the top.
“We have no problem with the raising of any standards as long as they are not intrusive or prescriptive.
“Common sense should apply but unfortunately Wirral licensing are not on speaking terms with common sense.
“Things like inappropriate tattoos – what’s that ? I’m an Evertonian and I might dislike Liverpool Football Club tattoos and think they’re inappropriate.
“It is so vague it needs to be tightened.”
Enforcement officers will report back to the panel on any driver considered to be in breach of the dress code.
According to Mr Cummins, problems may arise if the council tries to take any action against persistent offenders – because the dress code is not covered by any by-law.
“It is pointless bringing something out which is toothless and that is really what they will be doing,” he added.
* Dress code changes anger cabbies 13 NOVEMBER 2007, SOUTH EAST
* Taxi drivers resisting dress code 06 APRIL 2004, NORTH YORKSHIRE
Can this happen in London, this is what John Mason had to say.
“Over the past year in my discussions with trade associations and individual drivers I’m often asked ‘Why does TfL not introduce a dress code for taxi drivers?”
“There appears to be a general and commonly held view within the trade that TfL has a role to play in this respect and that we should perhaps take the lead and introduce a dress code which drivers should abide by”.
“At first I didn’t really pay much attention to this suggestion, thinking instead that the last thing drivers would want is for TfL to start checking what they were wearing as well as everything else we already do but as more and more drivers have mentioned it I think it’s worth throwing out for consideration”.
“There are plenty of examples of dress codes in place for taxi drivers up and down the country and it would be quite straightforward for us to stipulate what our dress code is. We could provide a very clear policy on this with perhaps suspension of licenses for short periods for drivers who continually break the code”.
Taken from the Anderson Shelter
personally I think the majority of London cabbies are pretty smartly dressed already, there will always be the odd few that let the side down though.
From the 100 odd drivers I know I can’t seem to record any of them wearing track suit bottoms but there are the odd few who wear football tops and trainers but not flip flops.
A lot of London cabbies still wear flip flops, as I noticed throughout the summer.
I understand London cabbies were banned from wearing them after a driver mounted the pavement outside Harrods and killed someone, aparently his flip flop got caught under his accelerator pedal.