Tag Archive: cabbies

STRIKE: Super d-Uber protest brings London to a standstill

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STRIKE: Taxi drivers brought London to a standstill last week

STRIKE: Taxi drivers brought London to a standstill last week

Cabbies turn back on trade in an over-saturated market

More than 5,000 taxi drivers pulled up their handbrakes and turned off their engines in London last week as the city came to a standstill for a stationary protest.

London cabbies were taking a stand against what they said were ‘threats to passenger safety and deregulation’ amidst the rise of Uber across the country.

With the number of private hire drivers in the capital rising from 34,000 in 2008 to 96,500 today, the market has become increasingly saturated.

Union group ‘Unite’, which took part in last week’s demonstration, called on the government for a level playing field.

Amongst demands being made for Uber - which operates self-employed private hire drivers and is based for UK tax purposes in Holland – was a proper rate of corporation tax to be paid into the UK.

Chair of the Unite London & Eastern taxi cab section Jim Kelly said: “It is clear that the government, London mayor Boris Johnson and the Tory candidate for mayor Zac Goldsmith have all seriously taken against the black taxi trade in London, a taxi trade which consistently comes out top in terms of value and service compared to other cities around the globe.”

He continued: “We feel that Uber exploits its drivers by using their self-employed status to extract maximum income from them which translates to those drivers working long hours.

“The reduction in safety for passengers because of the ‘light touch’ regime is to be deplored. It is a race-to-the bottom - when in 2016 we want the highest possible standards.

“The London taxi fleet is 100 per cent wheelchair accessible. There is no compulsion on private hire operators such as Uber to provide for these passengers.”

The taxi trade protest began at 2.30pm in Whitehall, London, on Wednesday 10th February.

Unite, the country largest union representing many of London’s 25,000 taxi drivers, said the issues facing taxi drivers in the capital were mirrored across the UK.

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Tackling cross-border operations

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APPROVED: Mohammed Khan, representative for the Bradford Hackney Carriage Owners and Drivers Association (BHCODA), previously told the Asian Express that more needed to be done to crackdown on cross-border taxis

APPROVED: Mohammed Khan, representative for the Bradford Hackney Carriage Owners and Drivers Association (BHCODA), previously told the Asian Express that more needed to be done to crackdown on cross-border taxis

‘Intended use’ policy welcomed by Bradford’s cabbies

Bradford Council has welcomed moves by a Lancashire local authority to put an end to the problem of taxis operating across the border in Bradford.

A survey found recently that around 200 private hire vehicles operating in Bradford were licensed as Hackney Carriages in the town of Rossendale.

Council taxi officers were concerned that safety checks on the outside vehicles and drivers were not as stringent and that they had no powers to enforce safety rules on taxis not licensed in Bradford.

When random spot checks have been carried out by Rossendale officers visiting the Bradford area, a higher proportion of Rossendale licensed vehicles have been recorded as having safety defects than are recorded in similar checks on vehicles licensed in Bradford.

Drivers licensed in Rossendale also avoided more expensive insurance premiums.

After senior councillors held cross-border talks about the issue, Rossendale taxi bosses have taken action.

They have introduced a new ‘Intended Use’ policy which requires every applicant for a taxi licence in Rossendale to declare where the taxi will be operating the majority of the time.

If this is outside the area, then it is likely that the licence will not be granted.

Bradford Council had been pressing for this policy to be introduced in talks with Rossendale. New applicants will have to qualify immediately but existing licence holders will not be affected until they need to renew their licence in 12 to 18 month’s time.

Bradford Council Deputy Leader, Cllr Val Slater, said: “We are glad that Rossendale Council has taken action to resolve this issue after we discussed it with them.

“Our position is that the safety of taxi users is paramount and this move should eventually ensure that anyone using licensed taxis in the Bradford district can be confident that the drivers and vehicles are properly checked for safety and insured for the area in which they operate.”

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New task force hopes to clamp down on rogue cabbies”

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CRACKDOWN: Mohammed Khan, a taxi driver from Bradford welcomes a government intervention that aims to clamp down on taxi drivers who stray out of their council remit

CRACKDOWN: Mohammed Khan, a taxi driver from Bradford welcomes a government intervention that aims to clamp down on taxi drivers who stray out of their council remit

Crackdown on cross border taxis

Rogue cabbies in Bradford are being targeted in 2016 with plans for a cross-border crackdown set to be put in place by council bosses.

A task force, consisting of representatives from councils across Yorkshire, is currently being created to police the taxi and private hire trade and help clamp down on rogue elements. Databases of drivers in the region will help to make this happen.

National deregulation has, in recent times, opened up the trade, leading to increased concerns about safety issues, especially in the wake of the Rotherham child abuse scandal, which may leave passengers at risk of sexual grooming and trafficking.

Following changes in the law, firms can now make bookings outside of their own city - even though monitoring powers can only be enforced in the area they are licensed in.

Mohammed Khan, representative for the Bradford Hackney Carriage Owners and Drivers Association (BHCODA), said the industry had undergone too much deregulation, allowing drivers to operate in different cities.

“From the start, I was against it,” he said. “The reason for that was every city, every town, every council have got their own system of taxi’s and private hires.

“The taxi drivers that are working under the council are being governed by the council and vehicles are being checked for MOTs. It keeps them in line with the council and they know what’s going on.”

Mr Khan continued: “If a taxi goes to another area, one he’s not familiar with it and secondly, it’s confusing for the public. They won’t know which one is a legitimate one to hail down. It makes it easier for the taxi man to abuse the system because he’s not vetted in that town.

“I represent the Bradford Hackney carriages and I work with the council for the betterment of the taxi’s operating in Bradford. Our taxis are governed by the Bradford council. As long as they know they’re getting into a Bradford cab then they’ll be safe.”

Bradford is expected to authorise the new rules shortly with other authorities. By the beginning of April, Leeds, Kirklees, Calderdale, Wakefield, and also York are expected to sign up to the new co-ordinated approach.

Bradford Council has issued 222 black cab licences and 2,700 private hire vehicle permits.

Bradford Council’s deputy leader, Councillor Val Slater said: “It's a good move forward.

“It's logical that we have common standards across West Yorkshire on taxi licensing and it will certainly help when we have the delegated powers as it will mean we can inspect and deal with each others’ vehicles.”

She added that it would get rid of the ‘bureaucratic nightmare’ of trying to enforce taxi regulation for drivers that operate across border, or private hire firms which have depots in different authorities.

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Life on the meter

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The Great Big Taxi Debate

Taxi drivers face many problems day to day. Whether it being language barriers, dress codes or simply fearing for their lives, it seems it is becoming harder and harder to make an honest living. Many representing, some would say, the front line for the rest of the Asian community.

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