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Wakefield Latest To Be Hit With Taxi Driver Protests | Taxi Rank

Hot! Wakefield Latest To Be Hit With Taxi Driver Protests

It seems that cab drivers all over the UK are tired of being pushed around by their local councils. Almost every day, a new location is hit with a protest against various perceived wrongs against cab drivers on the part of their respective local councils. Wakefield is the latest hotspot as cab drivers gathered outside the city centre in protest. They claim that drivers in the city are charged some of the highest fees in the UK. An estimated 200 drivers protested outside County Hall as rising fees and the local council’s enforcement policy incurred their wrath.

The license renewal fee has increased by £20 while drivers are incensed that they are being forced to pay an extra £45 for the re-testing of vehicles when they are failed for having minor faults such as a bulb not working properly. It is not unusual for a cab driver to have his cab confiscated on a Friday because of a minor fault and not receive it back until Monday. By that time, they have missed a sizeable amount of income by missing the weekend trade in the city.

The Wakefield Private Hire Association’s chairman, Javed Iqbal, stated that drivers in the area have raised concerns with the council’s conduct since 2008. He claims that it was a peaceful protest that arose out of several years worth of frustration. He now hopes that elected members of the council can see the unrest they are causing with their actions and wants a sensible outcome that satisfies both parties. Iqbal concluded by saying that everyone needs to work together for a speedy resolution.

Councillor Nadeem Hamed has sympathy for the plight of the drivers and acknowledges that they are being treated poorly. Hamed stated that drivers have an extremely difficult job and work hard every day. He pointed out that the average cab driver’s week consisted of ferrying drunk people home while being abused and spat upon yet all of this was deemed to be a normal part of the job.

Predictably, cabinet members defended the increases, saying that fees had remained frozen for the last three years though they did state that the costs and criteria of the re-testing process would be evaluated. A meeting has been scheduled between the council and the Private Hire Association on 2 August where it is hoped that certain issues can be resolved.

Councillor Graham Stokes said that cabinet members are willing to work with the taxi community but they will never compromise the safety of the public by allowing taxis with faults to carry passengers. Councillor Maureen Cummings backed up her colleague and said that enforcement action is only performed when necessary as a means of keeping the public safe. She concluded by saying that a vehicle which isn’t fit to be on the road will not be allowed to carry passengers.

Source: wakefieldexpress.co.uk

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