Shrewsbury Business Improvement District (BID) wants to ensure that the positive experience provided by Shrewsbury’s vibrant and safe late-night economy extends to everyone getting home safely and without delay after a night out.

The BID is in discussions with private hire operator representatives and taxi owners as well as Pubwatch members, West Mercia Police, Shropshire Council and Street Pastors to look at ways in which a collective approach can help this happen more effectively.

The BID is pressing for more local private hire operators and taxi drivers and is working with the trade to increase driver opportunities and for more to be done to recruit additional drivers to give people more choice. In addition, the BID wants to encourage people to think ahead and book their journeys home in advance to help operators manage their private hire fleets as well as making use of taxis that can be hailed in the street. Proposals to set up a new taxi rank at Shoplatch, next to the Market Hall are also being considered, and it has been agreed that Street Pastors who have identified vulnerable people ought to be in a position to make priority arrangements to get these people home.

James Hitchin, Chairman of Pubwatch and a BID board member, said: “We believe working collectively will make a difference and enable us to find solutions. I am delighted that private hire operators and taxi owners have also joined Pubwatch to work with local licensed premises to share information and to help keep the town safe.”

Inspector Ed Hancox, Policing Inspector for Shrewsbury and surrounding areas, said: “We fully support the BID in this work. We know that partnerships can be effective and this can be seen from the work that achieved Shrewsbury’s Purple Flag Status for its safe and welcoming night-time economy. It is in everyone’s interest that this continues and the latest work, led by the BID, will help us to do this.”

Frances Darling, Shropshire Council’s Trading Standards and Licensing Operations Manager, said: “Safeguarding vulnerable people is a key priority for the Council and the Licensing Team. We recognise the valuable role that the BID is playing to bring together organisations, businesses and volunteers to enhance what we already do in this respect. Getting people home safely, after they have enjoyed a night out in Shrewsbury, is clearly desirable and we are committed to supporting the BID’s efforts to improve this.”