Staying safe is always a concern for taxi drivers, and whilst taxi insurance can protect them if they have an accident, drivers are generally responsible for their own personal safety. This is why there has been anger from taxi drivers over the Brighton and Hove City Council’s plan to introduce a 20mph speed limit across a large amount of roads in the area.
Taxi drivers are concerned that when picking up drunk passengers from town centres they could be accused of purposely driving slow to make extra money, even though they would just be sticking to the new speed limits. Secretary of the GMB union’s Hackney carriage and private hire section, Mick Hildreth said: “When people get into a taxi, they assume the quicker it gets somewhere the cheaper it is. When this rule comes in, drunk customers are going to think that drivers are ripping them off.”
“We will not sit back and let are members be physically attacked by drunk and drugged up customers, with the tacit support of the council leader who thinks a rational chat with people off their heads will reduce violence against taxi drivers.” The council leader Mr Hildreth was referring to is Brighton and Hove City Council leader Jason Kitcat, who dismissed taxi drivers’ concerns by saying that they “simply did not hold water.” Mr Hildreth responded to this by stating that: “We demand Councillor Kitcat immediately withdraws his comments and apologises to those drivers now in fear of an increased level of attacks solely down to his Green council policies.”
Councillor Kitcat has hit back though and defended the new plans, by saying: “I don’t condone violence against anyone. That’s why we recently introduced CCTV cameras into taxis to protect drivers. We have had so much support for this policy from across the city. There are already 20mph speed zones in some parts of Brighton and Hove and this problem has not been reported.”