The issue was raised at the recent meeting of the full council over the difference in regulations between the licensing of taxi drivers and those of nine-to-16 seater vehicles known as Public Carriage Vehicles (PCVs).
Coun Ken Stephenson, said he was “concerned” due to mini-bus drivers only having to “self-declare” they have no previous criminal convictions, but no checks are carried out.
He told the council licenses for nine-to-16 seater vehicles are issued and controlled by the DVLA and traffic commissioners.
Taxi drivers in order to operate have to be licensed by the council and need to undergo a criminal record check every three years.
Coun Stephenson said: “Many of the minibuses are used by taxi companies. The general public assume they have undergone the same checks as taxi drivers.
“Those who have been refused a licenses or have existing licences revoked due to criminal convictions are going on to drive minibuses.”
Coun Stephenson added: “As a local authority we want to see the same stringent checks put in place for minibus drivers as those for taxi drivers.
“This is a serious loophole which is endangers the safety of the travelling public.”
At a meeting held at Jarrow Town Hall, a motion was passed for the council to write to the Secretary of State for Transport to “express their concerns” over the safety of the travelling public “as a result of the unsuitable and outdated licensing process.”