York taxi drivers join protest over ‘wild west’ situation at weekends

Taxis at York station. Photograph: YorkMix
22 May 2017 @ 9.17 pm
| News

This protest has been postponed owing to the bomb explosion in Manchester overnight.

This message was posted on the York Private Hire Association Group Facebook page:

Hi All
In light of sad events in Manchester last night, and as a mark of respect, the Yorkshire region planned taxi protest in Leeds today is cancelled and will be rearranged.

Our thoughts are with those caught up in the horrific situation at Manchester Arena.

Kind regards
Sue Wood
Senior Organiser

From May 22, 2017 9.17 pm

York taxi drivers are to join a protest against the ‘saturation’ of unlicensed private hire vehicles and out of town minicabs.

The GMB union said demonstrations will be held on Tuesday (May 23) in cities including York, Brighton, Leeds and London.

But according to the York Private Hire Association Group, York drivers are planning to join the Leeds demo rather than hold a separate one here.

‘Taking safety risk’

The union claimed many towns and cities resembled the “wild west” at weekends because of an over-capacity in the market.

Pay has been cut and drivers are being forced to work longer hours, often in areas where they are not licensed, said the GMB.

National officer Mick Rix said: “The vast majority of drivers in the trades of both taxi and minicabs are professional drivers, and operate strictly in accordance with their licensing requirements.

“However, because of the huge surge in licences being issued there is now over-capacity, where drivers are being encouraged by their operators to work hundreds of miles from where they are licensed.

“Many operators are refusing to recognise the safety risks they are placing on drivers due to excessive hours working.

“There is no national database for drivers, operators or enforcement officers. Unfortunately the Government does not recognise there is a problem, which in the main is of their making.”

The union is calling for local taxi and minicab services to be protected, and an end to illegal touting for business.