Just a few days after Transport for London decided to strip Uber of its licence to operate in the capital, York hosted its own protest against the taxi app.
Dozens of York taxi drivers from a variety of firms took to the streets in a go-slow protest against Uber and other out-of-town drivers.
The action was coordinated by the GMB union.
Taxis drove in convoy out of York Station, under the city walls and across Lendal Bridge, before turning round by the Minster and heading back.
That route, of course, brought them close to the City of York Council HQ at West Offices.
‘Major public safety issue’
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Drivers want to highlight the problems caused by out-of-town taxi drivers coming into York, which is “having a major impact on trade and putting members of the public at risk,” said the GMB union.
“Public safety is now seriously compromised,” said Lynn Brook, GMB organiser in York
“Local enforcement officers cannot enforce safe standards when it comes to out-of-town vehicles. Also illegal touting is on the increase.
“Local licensed regulated drivers are being forced out of the market, with earnings taking a hit and leaving drivers below the breadline.”
This is a major public safety issue and that is why we are campaigning today.
Lobbying for new law
GMB is supporting a Private Members Bill by Labour MP Daniel Zeichner to reform legislation covering the taxi and private hire industry.
The Deregulation Act 2015 “has created a Wild West situation in many towns and cities”, the union said, with the unfettered licensing of operators and drivers.
Some taxi owners, like Uber, are taking advantage of deregulation – encouraging out-of-town and cross-border working, using drivers who are not licensed and regulated in local areas.
The York demo follows fast behind Transport for London’s decision not to renew Uber’s operating licence, finding it not a “fit and proper” service.
The global company is to appeal. Its currence licence runs out on September 30.