Last week we reported that taxi drivers from Dudley staged a ‘go-slow’ protest around the City Hall in order to display their anger at the fact that the council would only allow them to have a licence if their vehicle was white. Drivers claimed that this was unfair of the council as white cars are generally more expensive and therefore would eat into their income, but as the council refused to budge they decided that protesting should be their next move.
Now, taxi drivers from Wolverhampton are also threatening a protest against the council, however instead of a ‘go-slow’ campaign they are threatening to strike on Friday and Saturday nights which would leave many people stranded in the town centres and would be bad for local business. Taxi drivers in Wolverhampton are currently frustrated due to the fact that they believe there are not enough taxi ranks in the area and that there is also too much competition. To make matters worse, the council are debating whether to start giving licenses to older vehicles, meaning there would be even more taxis on the roads.
Last Thursday members from various taxi groups tried to discuss their concerns with the licensing bosses, however came away frustrated. Parminder Sekhon, chairman of the Wolverhampton’s Taxi Owners’ Association even said that the meeting had left him “feeling like we are banging our heads against a brick wall.” He went on to add: “If we don’t get any progress from the meeting with Roger Lawrence we will take a vote from the drivers.” Meanwhile, Mohammed Khurshid, chairman of the Wolverhampton Hackney Carriage Drivers’ Association said that drivers are already struggling to make ends meet and paying for licensing fees, petrol and taxi insurance costs.
However, Wolverhampton City Council’s licensing manager Colin Parr defended the council’s decisions and said: “We have listened and worked closely with the trade, taking into account their concerns while drawing up a plan that will help us stimulate the growth of taxis in Wolverhampton to meet increasing demand – particularly in the city centre at busy weekend nights.” Over the upcoming week members from the taxi associations are planning on meeting with Councillor Lawrence in the hope that they will be able to come to some sort of agreement, otherwise it is highly likely the drivers will organise a strike in the next few months.