Southampton Introduces Drug Testing for Taxi Drivers

Southampton Introduces Drug Testing for Taxi Drivers

In order to protect public safety, Southampton City Council has agreed on a new policy introducing random drug testing for taxi drivers. During a licensing committee meeting, it was heralded as one of the most decisive steps toward ensuring the safety of passengers and protecting the reputation of taxi services in the city.

Key Features of the New Policy:

  1. Random Screenings: Surprise drug screenings of taxi drivers may be carried out under this policy during normal operations or at any other time the licensing officials find viable.
  2. Undercover Operations: This can involve spot roadside checks by the undercover investigators who go disguised as customers to make it even more unpredictable for testing purposes.
  3. Intelligence-Based Testing: The new regulations also make provision for an effective response to specific intelligence relating to drug use by individual drivers, although such reports are reportedly rare.

According to the licensing service manager at Southampton, Phil Bates, there will be in place a framework to deal with reports relating to a driver impairment policy. However, Russell Hawkins, a senior licensing officer, explained that there would not be any testing during every license renewal or at each contact with drivers but rather practice on a selective basis.

Other measures include:

In addition to the drug testing policy, it has also ordered that all hackney carriages must have a functioning card payment machine installed. This move will avoid instances of refusal of short trips with the excuse of not having enough cash to change, as has been reported by passengers carried by some, albeit a minority, drivers.

It was clarified that any requirement for card machines in private hire vehicles would need to be consulted on separately, as had happened with Hackney Carriages.


Announcing new measures being on the front foot raises high standards in taxi services within Southampton. Random drug testing and convenient payment facilities will improve safety and service quality for residents and visitors.

In the framework of cities around the world struggling to control ride-hailing services and traditional taxis, maybe the system adopted by Southampton will act as an example for other municipalities seeking modernity in their oversight of transportation services.

The report does not give a specific date for the implementation of these new policies, but it clearly means that Southampton is leaving no stone unturned to make its taxi services safe, reliable, and up-to-date with modern payment expectations.

Photo: “Taxi” by Anthony Cunningham for Zoom Testing

Zoom Testing is a leading UK drug testing company and a supplier of Drug Test Kits.

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