Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Cab drivers in war of words over dwindling passenger numbers
Taxi drivers in Bradford have demanded tougher action to protect their trade and passengers from rogue minicab firms who poach passengers with illegal pick-ups.
But private hire drivers have vehemently denied pinching customers, saying such accusations were simply not true.
Bradford Hackney Carriage Association has now urged Bradford Council to do more to clamp down on those acting outside the law.
Legally, passengers using a private hire firm must pre-book a journey, whereas hackney carriages drivers can pick up passengers in the street at a rank or by being flagged down.
Hackney Carriage Association committee member Shabbir Master claimed some Bradford minicab drivers and some who are banned from the city, but licensed by other local authorities, were “decimating” business.
“It’s a huge problem. There are a hell of a lot of private hire drivers that are picking up jobs illegally,” he said.
Bradford Town Taxis driver Habib Nawaz said he and colleagues were losing business because there were too many drivers and that passengers were being put at risk.
He said he contacted the Council a few months ago, but thinks it should do more.
He said: “All [Hackney carriage] drivers are fed up with the private hire drivers that do flag-downs in the city.
“If the Council doesn’t do anything about it, it could cause big issues between the Hackney carriage and private hire drivers.
“My request to the Council is for them to come out on a weekend night and check them, try to flag them down, and save the Hackney carriage drivers.”
But the chairman of the Bradford Private Hire Liaison Service, Khurram Shehzad, insisted minicab drivers were not stealing business. He blamed a slump in business on Bradford’s night-time economy.
He said: “Private hire drivers are accused of plying for hire by Hackney drivers, but I believe this is not the reason for the trade in town going down for them or hitting their earnings.
“They shouldn’t just rely on the town centre but look for work from other parts of Bradford too.
“Drivers are aware of the consequences for plying for hire – eight points on the licence and a ban from their job, their livelihood. I’m sure they don’t want that and are not stupid enough to make mistakes as such for the sake of a few pounds.”
Mr Master agreed that the city’s nightlife was flagging.
He said: “There’s very little night life on the streets of Bradford now – that’s where the problems are coming from. There’s not a lot of work on a weekend and this does not help.”
A Bradford Council spokesman said: “Our Hackney Carriage and Private Hire service recently carried out a ‘plying for hire’ initiative. Officers approached more than 50 private hire vehicles and none were willing to take the fare without it being pre-booked.
“The message is clear that taking fares that have not been pre-booked is not allowed and we believe private hire operators are ensuring that their divers are aware. We are planning on carrying out similar initiatives in the future.”
The Council spokesman added: “The message for members of the public is that it is really important that they think about how they will get home from a night out and either use a hackney carriage from one of the taxi ranks or pre-book a cab with a private hire company.”
Comments are closed on this article.