Bournemouth Taxi Drivers not Happy to Pay for Marshalls

Taxi drivers and people in the taxi trade around Bournemouth have labelled an attempt to make them pay for night-time security marshals as ‘illegal’.

Ashley Miller, from Bournemouth Taxi Trade Association, criticised the proposal they should take over the cost of security staff that patrol a taxi rank.

Currently, during the summer months, Bournemouth Council spends £1,000 paying for a private security company to keep order on the weekend evenings.

The marshals operate for 10 weeks a year, which were first tried in 2006 and were brought back in 2009.

The money to hire the security marshals comes from public order initiatives and community safety project funding, is due to run out within 12 weeks.

Bournemouth council is proposing to ask the taxi trade to pay the scheme through licence fees and the licensing board, agreed to look into whether this could be done after checking the legalities.

Chairman of the licensing board, Cllr Andrew Morgan, said at the meeting, “From what Dorset Police have said, taxi marshals are clearly important and we should keep them.”

Ashely Miller, who recently resigned as association chairman and is awaiting a successor, said, “Its illegal.”

“They can’t put the put the costs on to our licences.”

“There are around 1,100 private hire and hackney cabs in Bournemouth and probably only five per cent of them use the Horseshoe Common rank, where the marshals operate.”

“To me, the marshals slow the rank down.”

“Those people that use the rank would probably say they are happy the marshals are there but at the end of the day it’s a police problem.”

“It should be the police marshalling the ranks.”

However, Steve Lyne, Acting Inspector of Dorset Police said, “The marshals provide an effective deterrent to disorder within the taxi queue and as such, provide overall enhancement to Operation Protect which tackles violent crime in Dorset.”

Previous studies and reports from other towns have said that marshals have improved the safety of taxi drivers and the levels of verbal abuse and even damages to cars have decreased, which has encouraged cheap taxi insurance quotes for their policies.

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