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PROTEST PLIGHT


HUNDREDS SIGN CHELTENHAM TAXI DRIVERS PETITION AS DISPUTE WITH COUNCIL RAGES ON


Hundreds of people have signed a peti- tion aimed at getting Cheltenham Borough Council to think again about its planned change to licensed taxis. GloucestershireLive reports that the authority agreed in March 2018 that all of its licensed HCVs would have to be wheelchair accessible in the future. The deadline for drivers to have the correct kind of vehicles is due to come into force in December this year. Drivers have protested about the planned change before because they say it threatens their jobs. They say it costs between £22K and £35K to buy a WAV and with business greatly reduced by the pandemic, they have not been able to save up the money they need. Their petition calls for the council to delay the implementation of the new policy for two years. It adds: “The council has been approached regarding the delay of the upcoming policy but has refused to


show any understanding or compas- sion to the taxi trade. Most drivers have not been able to work properly for a year now and have received very little in the way of financial support. “[Cheltenham Borough] Cllr [Andrew] McKinlay has stated that the drivers have had enough time to save up to buy a new WAV but the reality is that most drivers have had to use any sav- ings to get them through this year. “If there is no delay to the policy, many drivers will be forced out of work. We


‘NO ALTERNATIVE’ DRIVERS PROTEST OVER NEWPORT TAXI RANKS


Taxi drivers across Newport have gath- ered to hold a “go-slow” protest in the city. According to the South Wales Argus, hackney cab drivers are angry at the lack of ranks available to them in the city, and Unite, the union represent- ing them, says their “complaints have fallen on deaf ears.” As a result of their frustration with the council, drivers organised a protest on 27 April, taking them from Newport Railway Station, along the Kingsway to Friars Walk, back up to Queensway, and then around the Civic Centre. And Unite warned that if a resolution to their concerns cannot be found in the next few weeks “they will want to express their frustrations again”. The drivers’ complaints centre on


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would also like to point out that coun- cillors got an automatic one-year extension to their term of office due to this pandemic.” Ilesh Magatlal, who works on the ranks at Cheltenham Spa Railway Station and the Promenade, said: “I am one of the Cheltenham hackney drivers hit hard by the pandemic. We are asking the public for help. It’s a humble request.” He said the drivers had tried several times to get the council to consider delaying the implementation of the new policy but it had turned them down. It was a worrying time for people like him, he said. Louis Krog, the council’s licensing team leader, said: “In May 2020, the council’s cabinet considered a request from the Cheltenham Taxi Drivers Association to delay the implementation of the WAV policy. Cabinet agreed that it would not support this request and that the deci- sion taken to implement the WAV policy by December 2021 should remain in force to ensure publicly avail- able transport is accessible to all. “The reasons were published and recognise, amongst other things, that the WAV policy decision that was taken in 2018 gave licence holders sufficient time to plan and prepare for the transi- tion. Delaying the implementation, would penalise other licence holders who have already changed their saloon vehicles to WAVs.”


reduced rank space in Upper Dock Street and Corn Street resulting in lim- iting their earning oppotunities. Imran Badat, a taxi driver in Newport, said: “We have not been given enough hackney ranks in Newport city centre." Drivers say their message is clear: the local council must create more spaces for taxi drivers on the #Newport ranks.


BRADFORD PROTESTS Bradford cabbies say no to the CAZ coming in January 2022.


• Bradford PH Operators Assoc: slow drive took place on 5 & 6 May


• BTAG: is calling for a full strike on 13 & 14 May unless Bradford Council responds to concerns about CAZ plans by 4 May.


JOIN THE FIGHT! MAY 2021


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