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APPRECIATING APPS


ulators’ role to be simply a quasi-judicial role adjudicating whether the legislation and regulations have been fol- lowed and if not refuse a licence or prosecute? In law it is BUT maybe that role needs to expand as many regulators have sought to do. Expanded to encourage and work with the industry to certainly abide by the law, to meet regulations but also to prevent or avoid some of the things perceived or that we have actually seen happen in the industry.


Regulation is necessary; in fact I would say the only rea- son for regulation is public safety but is regulation on its own enough? Is enforcement of regulation enough? I would suggest that the answer is no. I would strongly urge regulators and the industry (see above) to come together to make this industry as safe as it can possibly be with as little opportunity to obscure and cover up issues as is possible.


To do this the industry needs to mature somewhat to recognise that fraudulent insurance costs insurance com- panies money, real money; that tampered or falsified documents injure the industry and makes it less attractive to the travelling public, reducing income and leaving drivers with less earnings and to spend on hiring vehicles, insurance, repairs etc. It has the effect of turning off the types of driver that the industry really needs. It reduces volumes for operators. I could go on but you get the pic- ture. A less safe industry is a less attractive industry and is a poorer industry at every level.


REALISTICALLY SPEAKING…


Utopias are easy to talk or write about but less easy to deliver. If we are to work together as an industry to reduce fraud, improve safety and provide less room for the unscrupulous or the inept, we need to work with reg- ulators as a body in partnership to do so.


I must confess that I tire of this frankly school playground yah-boo relationship between industry and regulator. Regulators shy from even flying kites as they are shot down in flames; the status quo (which everyone hated when first put in place) quickly becomes a golden era that mustn’t be changed come hell or high water. Flip flopping from meeting to meeting, moaning about every- thing, much of which was agreed at the previous meeting, and then expecting to be taken seriously is no way for the industry to behave.


Regulators and the industry can both be guilty of encour- aging sets of behaviours that don’t stimulate open and honest dialogue. We both need to be wary of this and be very clear about our strategic goals. We are not a tin pot business; we are a serious industry employing directly >300k people and probably five times that in ancillary, professional and other services with £billions in turnover. We need to act like it.


NOVEMBER 2020


Do all regulators get it right all the time? Does every operator? Do I? No! The old (and over used) mantra of together we are stronger, if we really are together in fighting a common problem - i.e. fraud, avoidance, inept performance of obligations, opaque and dishonest con- cealment - we could really come out of our current challenges much stronger.


Finally, to those of you who read this and think that ‘this has nothing to with me’ – it does. Whether you run tens of thousands of vehicles as an operator, or whether you are an owner driver/operator, the perception and reality of safety in this industry will affect your income. I wrote some weeks ago about Uber/Autocab and I made the point that it was just one more business decision. Like- wise this is also one more business decision – strategically we need to constantly review how we think our relationship with the regulator should operate, what needs to be tackled and how.


I therefore would urge NALEO, the Institute of Licens- ing, individual regulators and the industry to come together in good faith and with a will to identify and resolve the issues facing the industry in a constructive and meaningful way.


As an industry we will have much to commend to our current and prospective customers and they in turn can travel in confidence and importantly in safety knowing that we are an industry that really puts safety at the forefront of all that we do.


Dr Michael S. Galvin https://mobilityserviceslimited.com


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