Tag Archive: drivers

Over half think their worse drivers than when they passed their test

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A staggering 57 per cent of British motorists think they are a worse driver now than when they first passed their test.

Research from Young Driver, the UK’s largest provider of pre-17 driving lessons, revealed that only 43 per cent felt they were better behind the wheel now than when they first ripped up the L plates.

In fact, well over a third (39 per cent) of drivers thought they’d struggle to pass their test if they had to retake it now – rising to a worrying 46 per cent of over 55s. More women than men also thought they would fail if they were to take a test tomorrow (42 per cent vs 36 per cent).

More than 2,400 drivers were questioned in the study.

Kim Stanton, who heads up Young Driver, said: “Most drivers know they’ve picked up bad habits along the way, which is why they probably feel like they’d fail if faced with an examiner. In reality we know experience makes a safer driver, and this is borne out in road safety statistics.

“Shockingly, one in five newly qualified drivers has an accident within six months of getting on the road.

“With 400,000 17-21 year olds passing their test every year, that’s 80,000 potentially avoidable accidents within this vulnerable group. Almost 1,300 17-24 year olds are killed or seriously injured in road accidents each year – a much higher proportion than that age group accounts for in terms of the total number of road users.”

Driver education scheme Admiral Young Driver is aiming to help youngsters build up valuable experience behind the wheel - before the age of 17.

Children as young as 10 can drive a brand new, dual controlled Vauxhall Corsa SRi with an experienced instructor and learn everything from how to park or negotiate a roundabout to emergency stops and dealing with blindspots. Almost half a million lessons have been given since the scheme launched eight years ago.

Existing research has shown that teaching young people to drive from an earlier age and over a longer period of time can halve the accident rate for a newly qualified driver in that dangerous first six months – dropping from one in five to one in 10.

One of the reasons experience is so beneficial is it can help many skills behind the wheel to become automatic, allowing the driver to focus more on being alert to any potential dangers.

Teen expert Nicola Morgan, is an award-winning author and international speaker, specialising in writing for and about adolescent development, performance and wellbeing, including the books ‘Blame My Brain’ and ‘The Teenage Guide to Stress’.

Nicola explains: “The brain learns to do anything well by repetition.

“Every time we repeat an activity we are actually creating and then strengthening physical pathways between neurons (nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord). The more times we do it, the stronger those pathways become; the stronger they become, the more ‘automatic’ the skills in question become.

“There is a danger in learning to drive in a short space of time and with the minimum repetitions needed to pass the test but not to become expert.

“The skills required to drive confidently and safely (especially while distracted) have not been firmly embedded as neural pathways in the brain. Without these strong pathways, a huge amount of focus goes on the things that should be automatic, such as gear-changing and position in road, leaving less focus for noticing and dealing with sudden road changes, such as another driver stopping suddenly.”

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The strikes on the bus go round and round

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STRIKES: Bus drivers are enraged that they will only be getting a pay rise of 38 pence an hour

STRIKES: Bus drivers are enraged that they will only be getting a pay rise of 38 pence an hour

38 pence an hour for three years sparks new trouble

Bus bosses in Leeds have been accused of deliberately prolonging the city’s bus dispute by Unite, the country’s largest trade union, after the latest offer amounted to 38 pence an hour extra for the next three years.

Unite said that the ‘insulting 38 pence an hour’ offer sparked the third 24-hour strike in Leeds from 2am on Friday 8th July. There will also be a six-hour stoppage from 4am to 10am on Monday 11th July.

bus protestors leeds (299x450)The union blamed the management of First West Yorkshire for the strike by deliberately dragging its feet in negotiations and showing scant regard for the travelling public.

A thousand bus workers at the Bramley and Hunslet Park depots in Leeds will be striking on Friday and Monday, following two 24-hour strikes last month. The union points out that First Bus drivers in Halifax earn nearly £2 an hour more than their Leeds counterparts.

Unite regional officer Phil Bown said: “The bus bosses have an eccentric way of negotiating which means each new offer is worth less than the one before.

“The latest insulting offer works out at 38 pence an hour extra for the next three years – basically, 18 pence an hour in real terms.

“This is from a company that last month announced a UK-wide annual profit for its bus division of £52 million – £11 million of which came from its Leeds operations.

“This is a profitable company that is treating not just our members with contempt, but also the travelling public, by its failure to negotiate in good faith.

“We understand the inconvenience these strikes will cause the public on Friday and Monday – striking is a last resort of our members – but how many of bus users would be happy to be offered 38 pence an hour extra for the next three years?  I suspect, not very many.

“The company is using the travelling public as a pawn in its anti-union stance, as it is cancelling 150 bus journeys the day after the strikes, as it refuses to pay overtime to restore normal services.

“Unite’s door is open for talks at any time, but the management has to get serious about negotiating – they need to put away their macho posturing and think of the travelling public of Leeds.”

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‘Out of service’: Commuter chaos as bus strikes hit Leeds

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JOINED FORCES: Unite the union were representing the employees and slammed the proposed wage rises

JOINED FORCES: Unite the union were representing the employees and slammed the proposed wage rises

Hundreds of bus drivers from across Leeds joined forces at picket lines in the city earlier this week, after management refused to improve a ‘pitiful’ pay offer.

STRIKE: Dozens of First Bus employees were seen on the picket lines on Monday

STRIKE: Dozens of First Bus employees were seen on the picket lines on Monday

Employees from First Bus staged a one-day strike on Monday 13th June as the city’s public transport services went into standstill.

Describing the action as the ‘last resort’, their union, Unite, blamed First Bus management’s unwillingness to find a negotiated solution in talks at the conciliation service Acas.

The pay dispute comes at the same time as First Bus cuts the use of ‘bendy’ buses in Leeds, making 45 people redundant to save £1 million per year.

Unite regional officer, Phil Bown, said the drivers and First Bus employees had been left with no other option.

“First Bus makes massive profits from the travelling public in Leeds and the hard work of our members who keep the city on move day in, day out,” he said.

“Strike action is very much the last resort, but faced with management’s refusal to improve on its pitiful pay offer and negotiate meaningfully at Acas, our members feel forced into taking this action.”

First Bus made an estimated £11 million profit from its services in Leeds last year with some senior managers reportedly enjoying a five per cent rise in pay and bonuses.

Meanwhile bus workers were offered a rise of 16 pence an hour for this year and 20 pence for next year.

Mr Bown described the terms as unacceptable and discussions needed to be reopened as a matter of urgency.

OUT OF BUS-INESS: Bus timetables across Leeds were massively affected by the cancellations

OUT OF BUS-INESS: Bus timetables across Leeds were massively affected by the cancellations

“All our members are looking for is fair treatment and recognition for their hard work,” he added.

“We would urge First Bus management to drop its hard line attitude which risks causing disruption for the travelling public and enter into meaningful negotiations to resolve the dispute.”

Bus workers operating out of the Bramley and Hunslet Park depots in Leeds are among the lowest paid in First Bus’s Yorkshire operations with colleagues in Halifax earning up to £2 an hour more.

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Yorkshire potholes leaving national drivers with £684million repair bill

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COSTLY: Drivers forking out a small fortune to repair tyres and wheels damaged caused by potholes

COSTLY: Drivers forking out a small fortune to repair tyres and wheels damaged caused by potholes

Hole in the ground

Its seems that the hole in the ground is leaving drivers with a hole in the pocket as a survey reveals that British motorists have had to fund repair bills to a tune of £684million as a result of damage caused by hitting potholes.

The poor condition of the nation’s roads has hit drivers’ finances hard over the last twelve months, but Yorkshire’s roads cause almost a third of the damage caused to vehicles nationally.

2015-16 saw the wettest November-January period on record, and surface water has been a significant factor in many drivers hitting potholes.  31% of motorists who hit a pothole in the last twelve months say they did so because it was hidden by water and they thought it was just a puddle.

Hitting a pothole is most likely to have caused damage in Yorkshire & Humber and London, where over a third (37% and 35% respectively) of drivers hitting a pothole had to make repairs.  Welsh drivers were most likely to be financially unscathed from the impact of a pothole, although even here, 17% faced repair bills.

Across the country, 6.3million drivers suffered damage from hitting potholes in their car, with motorists having to pay out an average of £108.60 for repairs to tyres, wheels, suspension, exhausts or other bodywork.

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The vast majority of this financial burden is falling on motorists – the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey said, revealing that only £13.5m has been paid out in compensation in England and Wales, just 2.1% of the total cost of damage.

Collectively, the greatest financial impact has been on drivers in the South East, who have had to pay a whopping £108,149,130 for repairs caused by potholes, followed by drivers in London, with the capital’s roads causing £91,368,450 worth of damage.

Per individual driver, the costliest damage was suffered in the east of England, where drivers had to pay an average of £163.68, nearly three times as much as drivers in Wales, where the average repair bill was £61.83.  Welsh drivers have collectively faced the lowest bill of all regions at £12.4million, less than half the cost to drivers in the north east of England, the second lowest region.

Kwik Fit found that nearly half (46%) of those hitting a pothole said they would have risked colliding with other traffic if they had swerved around it.  4% of those hitting a pothole were honest enough to admit that they were driving too fast, and couldn’t stop in time.

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Taxis being damaged with new sticker rule

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Drivers fear that taxis are becoming over-regulated

Taxi drivers in Bradford say they feel their livelihoods are being ‘targeted’ after new legislation was introduced by the city’s council.

A recent ruling that all private hire vehicles should have permanent decals or liveries on the side of their vehicles was slammed by some who claim the industry has become ‘over-regulated’.

Decals are the stickers that go on the side of the vehicle and display the name of the firm, telephone number and that it is a private hire vehicle which can only be pre-booked

Drivers say they aren’t happy with the permanent sticker’s arrangement because of the damage it can cause to vehicles.

Nadeem Ahmed, a taxi driver from Bradford who has had his licence for over 25 years said: “We have given our evidence to the council that the damage is extensive and it can cost drivers up to £1,000 to repair. This is a loss which the taxi trade will have to take on board.

“There are alternative ways which this can be resolved. Magnetic decals, for example, have worked fine. The only thing we have been told by the council is that in 2015 they changed their computer system and lost all the data.

“They effectively have no information and have not complied with the issue.

“As far as public safety is concerned, you have to prove it. You can’t just say it’s for public safety. How does it keep the public safe?”

Taxis in Bradford are already well marked up. They have decals on the side, window visors, licenses in the window and are ‘easily identifiable’ according to Nadeem.

He continued: “We also have a ring back service so that a customer can be texted or called.

“We are pre-booked, meaning a customer can expect a certain car from a certain company. When they do get the ring back text, they will get the details of the driver and the vehicle make and model. There’s no chance of anyone getting into the wrong car.”

Nadeem feels that the industry has become ‘over-regulated’.

He said: “The council are becoming more stringent and we are taking huge amounts of losses on vehicle depreciation because of issues like the sticky decal that destroys the car’s paintwork.

“We think the council should give taxis some leeway on this. We should be given a fair choice on this matter, especially because we are private hire vehicles.

“Most members of the public haven’t read the regulations that govern private hire vehicles. 21 new conditions have been brought up in the last seven months alone, which will make it even tougher for us to work.”

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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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Controversial ‘bus gates’ cause traffic chaos

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FINES FOR NON-BUSES: Only buses can pass through gates located at Westgate, amongst other locations in Huddersfield

FINES FOR NON-BUSES: Only buses can pass through gates located at Westgate, amongst other locations in Huddersfield

Huddersfield’s new scheme sees motorists flouting the rules

Huddersfield town centre has activated new ‘bus gates’, much to the dismay of motorists.

Many drivers have already been fined and taxis have arrived late in the town centre.

The controversial scheme which aims to prevent vehicles from driving around key routes in town launched this week, causing ‘chaos’ on the roads.

Only buses and Hackney Carriage taxis are allowed to pass through the gates located at Westgate, Railway Street, Kirkgate, Market Street and High Street when they are activated.

Any unauthorised vehicles passing through the bus gates will receive a hefty £60 penalty charge, reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.

The operating times of the bus gates are shown on new signs at each location, with additional signs on the approach showing a route that drivers can take to avoid the enforcement cameras.

Cllr Peter McBride said: “The work follows consultation with town centre users including businesses, residents, shoppers and students who generally said they wanted Huddersfield to be an accessible town where people could get around easily and safely.

“In areas like Leeds and Bradford, bus gate and bus lanes are already in place and have been enforced using cameras for a number of years. Their purpose is to ensure the free flow of traffic where historically traffic congestion has been a recognised problem, particularly where that has had an impact on public transport.

“These initiatives speed up bus journey times and reliability, and create a better environment in the town centre where people can get about more easily and safely.”

A spokesperson for Kirklees Council said: “Nationally the majority of enforcing councils do not allow private hire vehicles to pass through bus lanes/gates.

“This is partly because national legislation states that only vehicles available for public hire - such as buses and Hackney Carriages - are allowed to use bus lanes, not private hire vehicles.

“In addition, Hackney Carriages and private hire vehicles operate in different ways: Hackney Carriages can pick up from taxi ranks and be flagged down in the street, this means they do not know where their customers want to go until they get into the cab, and this destination could be within an area covered by a bus gate or bus lane.

“Private hire vehicles are only legally available if pre-booked, and cannot be flagged down in the street. This enables them to plan their journeys in advance and avoid any streets where access is restricted.

“Another reason is that Hackney Carriages which have a lit ‘taxi’ sign on the roof making them easily identifiable.

“However, private hire vehicles look like regular vehicles, especially in the dark. If private hire vehicles were allowed through the bus gates it could lead to confusion for members of the public who may think they can follow them through.

“In addition, as a member of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), the council needs to be consistent in its approach to driving enforcement activities and mirror exemptions already in place across the WYCA.”

Bus gates will be active from 8am to 6pm. On High Street, near Huddersfield Town Hall, they will operate from 10am to 4pm.

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Cabbies tell police ‘protect us’: Taxis protest about stone-throwing youths

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SMASHED: Mohammad Ramzan had his passenger window smashed by a brick

SMASHED: Mohammad Ramzan had his passenger window smashed by a brick

Dozens of Leeds’ taxi drivers gathered outside Elland Road Police Station on Thursday 21st January, protesting against a lack of police action after a rise in youth crime.

Over the past eight weeks, cabbies say their cars have been targeted by stone-throwing youths, endangering  both the driver and the passengers, whilst also causing damage to the vehicle.

Pulling up outside the police station, cars with dents, holes and smashed glass highlighted some of the problems which had persisted in recent weeks despite a number of calls to the police.

Steve Howard, from Wheels Private Hire, says many of his drivers had suffered damaged cars due to the actions of children, and now was the time to say ‘enough is enough’.

“We have made complaint after complaint to the police but nothing has been done,” he said. “We have been put in touch with councillors, told to call 101 but every time we get the same result.

ATTACK: Youth crime across Leeds has been increasing according to drivers

ATTACK: Youth crime across Leeds has been increasing according to drivers

“I don’t know why these attacks have increased so much recently but it is just kids doing it and there is nothing we as drivers can do.

“They are throwing stones and even bricks at the windows. Someone is going to get hurt very soon and we need help from the police.

Steve was joined by a small group of representatives inside the police station as they spoke with an officer about the actions and what could be done.

Accepting that budget cuts had caused an awkward situation for the authorities, Steve said he was hoping to see his fellow professionals treated with a little more respect.

“They are limited to what they can do because of cuts and everything but all we need is one officer to patrol the street,” he said.

DAMAGE: Drivers have suffered a number of dents and scratches to their cars after youths threw stones

DAMAGE: Drivers have suffered a number of dents and scratches to their cars after youths threw stones

“When a bus had its windows smashed the other day, police were on the scene immediately. Why is it then, that when a taxi is attacked, they are left to basically fend for themselves.

“If drivers took action against these kids, their badges would be taken away and they wouldn’t be able to work for up to 12 months as investigations are carried out.”

Selby Road was one area which had been highlighted by several drivers as a ‘no-go’ zone in recent weeks. Images of cars with smashed windows and dents have been taken as evidence of the crimes.

Drivers were discussing the possibility of limited services, with options of stopping drivers in the worst affected areas after 5pm.

Mohammed Zahire, of Roadrunners, was another member of the congregation invited inside the station to discuss what more police could do.

Speaking after the meeting, he said: “The police apologised and vowed to take more action so it was a very positive result.

“They said they will put together a plan and task force to see what they can do now. I think we came away happy and confident.”

PROTEST: Dozens of drivers pulled up outside Elland Road Police Station to voice their concerns over a lack of police protection

PROTEST: Dozens of drivers pulled up outside Elland Road Police Station to voice their concerns over a lack of police protection

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‘Follow our example’

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PRAISED: Mohammed Khan said ‘rules are there to be followed’ following the conviction of two taxi drivers last month

PRAISED: Mohammed Khan said ‘rules are there to be followed’ following the conviction of two taxi drivers last month

Bradford cabbie praises ‘tough guidelines’ following double conviction

Following the conviction of two private hire drivers in November, for refusing to pick up a blind passenger with a guide dog, the Bradford hackney carriage association has urged its drivers to learn from this example.

Mohammed Khan, representatives for the Bradford Hackney Carriage Owners and Drivers Association (BHCODA) and a taxi driver in the city for more than 30 years praised his colleagues in Bradford.

“I cannot speak for all councils but here in Bradford, I know that I represent a very professional team of hackney carriage drivers,” he said.

“Every driver in the city has completed courses in all types of legislation which could affect the customers. We learn about disabilities and illnesses that passengers may have.

“Only if a driver is allergic to dogs is he allowed to refuse service, and even then, he must carry documents to prove this. In Bradford, I know as a representative of the BHCODA, that all our drivers are aware of these rules and follow them.”

Last month, a Rossendale licensed driver from Bradford became the second driver in a matter of days to be convicted for refusing to pick up a blind customer.

Shahid Mehboob, was caught committing the offence under the Equality Act 2010 in July 2015, on an operation led by licensing officers accompanied by the West Yorkshire Police.

The court heard that Mehboob, who is licensed as a Hackney Carriage driver, was dispatched to pick up a customer from the Cedar Court hotel, but when he arrived and saw the dog, he said: ‘no, no, no, I’m scared of dogs’.

Even when it was pointed out to him that it was an assistance dog he still said ‘no’.

Mehboob didn’t attend court but in his absence, his solicitor entered a guilty plea for failing to carry out a booking for a disabled person accompanied by an assistance dog.

Magistrates ordered Mehboob of Peternoster Lane, Bradford to pay a £50 fine, £276 prosecution costs, a £150 court charge and a £20 victim surcharge.

Mr Khan added: “Fines are strict because rules are there to be followed.

“I do not believe such an instance would happen with a hackney carriage driver in Bradford today.”

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GPs MUST tell DVLA if you’re unfit to drive

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Your doctor must tell the DVLA if you continue to drive when you are not medically fit, the General Medical Council (GMC) has said.

In new draft guidance, the GMC said doctors have a public protection duty to inform authorities if a patient is driving against medical advice.

Doctors do not need a patient's consent to inform the DVLA (or DVA in Northern Ireland) when a patient has continued driving. The strengthened advice is part of a public consultation on the GMC's core guidance on confidentiality.

This aims to help doctors balance their legal and ethical duties of confidentiality with wider public protection responsibilities. The guidance says doctors must disclose information if there is a need to protect individuals or the wider public from the risks of death or serious harm.

This can include risks of violent crime, serious communicable diseases, or risks posed by patients who are not fit to drive. Niall Dickson, chief executive of the GMC, said: 'Doctors often find themselves in challenging situations.

"This is difficult territory - most patients will do the sensible thing but the truth is that a few will not and may not have the insight to realise that they are a risk to others behind the wheel of a car.

"A confidential medical service is a public good and trust is an essential part of the doctor-patient relationship.

"But confidentiality is not absolute and doctors can play an important part in keeping the wider public safe if a patient is not safe to drive.

'We are clear that doctors carrying out their duty will not face any sanction - and this new guidance makes clear that we will support those who are faced with these difficult decisions."

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "Thirty-seven million drivers depend on the car for getting about and for those with serious medical conditions there is a real fear around losing their licence.

"But with the right treatment, many illnesses will not lead to people having to hang up the keys.

"The worst thing motorists can do is ignore medical advice. If they don't tell the DVLA about something that impacts on their ability to drive safely, then their GP will."

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Perez stars in Russia: Third place finish ensures history in Sochi

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CELEBRATIONS: The Force India team were jubilant when Perez crossed the finish line on Sunday

CELEBRATIONS: The Force India team were jubilant when Perez crossed the finish line on Sunday

It was a race to remember for all involved with Force India last weekend, as Sergio Perez claimed the constructor’s third podium finish in their eight-year history.

Edging out the likes of William’s Felipe Massa and Red Bulls’ Daniil Kyvat, the 25-year-old Mexican had one of the best races of his career to finish third in the Sochi Grand Prix.

Having seen teammate, Nico Hulkenberg, spin out on the first lap, all hopes for the side remained with Perez.

SUCCESS: Sergio Perez claimed his fifth career podium finish with a brilliant performance in the Russian Grand Prix

SUCCESS: Sergio Perez claimed his fifth career podium finish with a brilliant performance in the Russian Grand Prix

Last season, the Russian track proved difficult for both Force India drivers with neither managing to score any points in a rare blip during the 2014 campaign.

Despite admitting that he had all but settled for fifth spot, a final lap crash between Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas, presented the opportunity to clinch a podium finish, and Perez swooped at the chance.

Speaking after the race, he said: “It feels great to be back on the podium and to be able to celebrate with my team.

“I have been enjoying my time with the team so much and this is a great reward for all the work we have put in together.

“The call to pit under the safety car turned out to be very good because it gave us track position ahead of all the battles.

“With one lap to go, when Valtteri (Bottas) and Kimi (Raikkonen) passed me, it felt like this result had been taken from us: I was obviously disappointed but I also knew I had given all I could during the race.

“There was no more I could do because I had been on the same tyres for more than 40 laps.

“When I finally managed to get back into third it was just an amazing feeling. I am happy I was able to share this second podium with my team.

“It's a very special result and one that fills me with expectation ahead of the races in Austin and especially Mexico City.”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal added his praise for the young driver and called it a ‘perfect’ strategy.

“We have to compliment the team on a great performance and a perfect strategy,” he said.

“Pitting Sergio under the safety car was an aggressive call, but it paid off. We knew we would be under pressure towards the end, but having track position was crucial and the events on the final lap vindicated our decision.

“Checo did a great job defending against Ricciardo first and Bottas later until the very final stages and then we had some good fortune on the final lap.”

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‘Call’ for access

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APPEAL: LPHDA director, Dale Askham, and PHV driver, Tasadaq Hussain, stand at the site of Leeds’ newest bus lane

APPEAL: LPHDA director, Dale Askham, and PHV driver, Tasadaq Hussain, stand at the site of Leeds’ newest bus lane

Drivers question latest bus lane regulations

Private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers in Leeds have questioned why access to one of the city’s busiest streets has been restricted in a move which threatens to ‘severely hamper trade’.

Call Lane, near the Corn Exchange in the city centre, hosts a number of late night bars which get exceedingly busy in the evening, especially during weekend hours.

Previously, all vehicles were allowed access to the street with no restrictions in place.

However, new legislation, rubber-stamped last week, now only allows for Hackney Carriage Vehicles and buses to access the lane at set hours - between Friday and Monday, from 10pm until 5am.

UTILISED: During evenings, the bus stop opposite Call Lane has been used by hackney carriage drivers as a base

UTILISED: During evenings, the bus stop opposite Call Lane has been used by hackney carriage drivers as a base

Dale Askham, director of the Leeds Private Hire Drivers Association (LPHDA), questioned the decision which he believes will not only effect drivers but also passengers.

“There is nowhere legally around here that a PHV driver can pick up passengers anymore,” he said.

“This is a restriction of our trade and something which is exceedingly causing drivers problems. We offer the same services as hackney carriages and buses yet all new legislation seems to be hampering only PHV drivers.”

He added: “How are they supposed to drop off people with disabilities? We have not been consulted about any of these new regulations and it is going to affect business massively.”

The new legislation arrives just weeks after a petition was handed to Leeds City Council on behalf of PHV drivers which requested access to bus lanes throughout the city for all cabbies.

More than 900 signatures of PHV drivers were gathered and a verdict has yet to be given to those spearheading the appeal.

A new request has also recently been made this past week from the LPHDA to question the decision of introducing bus lane operations on Call Lane.

BUSY: Call Lane, located near the Corn Exchange, only allows hackney carriages and buses to travel on the road in certain hours between Friday and Monday

BUSY: Call Lane, located near the Corn Exchange, only allows hackney carriages and buses to travel on the road in certain hours between Friday and Monday

Mr Askham continued: “Currently, there are around 5,000 PHV drivers in the city compared to approximately 500 hackney carriage vehicles. There are more drivers in private hire than buses and hackney carriages combined so restricting access to so few appears unjustified.”

Tasadaq Hussain has been a PHV driver in the city for more than ten years and has seen a number of new legislations introduced since beginning his role.

He added: “Leeds is seen as the financial hub of the north yet Leeds City Council is restricting crucial public services.

“If they want more people to visit the city, then why are they making it so hard for public transport to be available to those who need it most?”

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “After careful consideration we have taken the decision with the support of traders and West Yorkshire Police to only permit access along Call Lane to buses and Hackney Carriages from 10pm -5am as part of a trial period.

“This is to ensure that the traffic network in the vicinity of Call Lane remains free-flowing and unobstructed.

“Vehicle numbers on Call Lane will continue to be closely monitored and the police will have the option to close the street to traffic at any time if any issues arise.”

 

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